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IN publishing a third edition of the Republic of Plato 
(originally included in my edition of Plato's works), I have 
to acknowledge the assistance of several friends, especially 
of my secretary, Mr. Matthew Knight, now residing for his 
health at Davos, and of Mr. Frank Fletcher, Exhibitioner 
of Balliol College. To their accuracy and scholarship I am 
under great obligations. The excellent index, in which 
are contained references to the other dialogues as well as 
to the Republic, is entirely the work of Mr. Knight. I am 
also considerably indebted to Mr. J. W. Mackail, Fellow 
of Balliol College, who read over the whole book in the 
previous edition, and noted several inaccuracies. 

The additions and alterations both in the introduction 
and in the text, affect at least a third of the work. 

Having regard to the extent of these alterations, and to 
the annoyance which is felt by the owner of a book at the 
possession of it in an inferior form, and still more keenly 
by the writer himself, who must always desire to be read as 
he is at his best, I have thought that some persons might 
like to exchange for the new edition the separate edition 
of the Republic published in 1881, to which this present 
volume is the successor. I have therefore arranged that 
those who desire to make this exchange, on depositing a 
perfect copy of the former separate edition with any agent 
of the Clarendon Press, shall be entitled to receive the new 
edition at half-price. 

It is my hope to issue a revised edition of the remaining 
Dialogues in the course of a year. 


THE Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the Republic. 
exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. 
There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the 
Philebus and in the Sophist ; the Politicus or Statesman is more 
ideal ; the form and institutions of the State are more clearly 
drawn out in the Laws ; as works of art, the Symposium and the 
Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no other Dialogue of 
Plato has the same largeness of view and the same perfection of 
style ; no other shows an equal knowledge of the world, or con- 
tains more of those thoughts which are new as well as old, and 
not of one age only but of all. Nowhere in Plato is there a 
deeper irony or a greater wealth of humour or imagery, or more 
dramatic power. Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt 
made to interweave life and speculation, or to connect politics 
with philosophy. The Republic is the centre around which the 
other Dialogues may be grouped ; here philosophy reaches the 
highest point (cp. especially in Books V, VI, VII) to which ancient 
thinkers ever attained. Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon 
among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of 
knowledge, although neither of them always distinguished the 
bare outline or form from the substance of truth ; and both of 
them had to be content with an abstraction of science which was 
not yet realized. He was the greatest metaphysical genius whom 
the world has seen ; and in him, more than in any other ancient 
thinker, the germs of future knowledge are contained. The 
sciences of logic and psychology, which have supplied so many 
instruments of thought to after-ages, are based upon the analyses 
of Socrates and Plato. The principles of definition, the law of 
contradiction, the fallacy of arguing in a circle, the distinction 
between the essence and accidents of a thing or notion, between 
means and ends, between causes and conditions ; also the division 
of the mind into the rational, concupiscent, and irascible elements, 
or of pleasures and desires into necessary and unnecessary these 


ii The greatness of Plato. 

Republic, and other great forms of thought are all of them to be found in the 
Republic, and were probably first invented by Plato. The greatest 
of all logical truths, and the one of which writers on philosophy 
are most apt to lose sight, the difference between words and things, 
has been most strenuously insisted on by him (cp. Rep. 454 A ; 
Polit. 261 E; Cratyl. 435, 436 if.), although he has not always 
avoided the confusion of them in his own writings (e.g. Rep. 
463 E). But he does not bind up truth in logical formulae, 
logic is still veiled in metaphysics ; and the science which he 
imagines to ' contemplate all truth and all existence ' is very 
unlike the doctrine of the syllogism which Aristotle claims to 
have discovered (Soph. Elenchi, 33. 18). 

Neither must we forget that the Republic is but the third part 
of a still larger design which was to have included an ideal history 
of Athens, as well as a political and physical philosophy. The 
fragment of the Critias has given birth to a world-famous fiction, 
second only in importance to the tale of Troy and the legend of 
Arthur ; and is said as a fact to have inspired some of the early 
navigators of the sixteenth century. This mythical tale, of 
which the subject was a history of the wars of the Athenians 
against the island of Atlantis, is supposed to be founded upon 
an unfinished poem of Solon, to which it would have stood 
in the same relation as the writings of the logographers to the 
poems of Homer. It would have told of a struggle for Liberty 
(cp. Tim. 25 C), intended to represent the conflict of Persia and 
Hellas. We may judge from the noble commencement of the 
Timaeus, from the fragment of the Critias itself, and from the third 
book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated 
this high argument. We can only guess why the great design 
was abandoned ; perhaps because Plato became sensible of some 
incongruity in a fictitious history, or because he had lost his 
interest in it, or because advancing years forbade the completion 
of it ; and we may please ourselves with the fancy that had this 
imaginary narrative ever been finished, we should have found 
Plato himself sympathising with the struggle for Hellenic in- 
dependence (cp. Laws, iii. 698 ff.), singing a hymn of triumph 
over Marathon and Salamis, perhaps making the reflection of 
Herodotus (v. 78) where he contemplates the growth of the 
Athenian empire 'How brave a thing is freedom of speech, 

The greatness of Plato. in 

which has made the Athenians so far exceed every other state of Republic. 
Hellas in greatness !' or, more probably, attributing the victory to 
the ancient good order of Athens and to the favour of Apollo and 
Athene (cp. Introd. to Critias). 

Again, Plato may be regarded as the 'captain' (dpxwos) or 
leader of a goodly band of followers ; for in the Republic is to be 
found the original of Cicero's De Republica, of St. Augustine's City 
of God, of the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous 
other imaginary States which are framed upon the same model. 
The extent to which Aristotle or the Aristotelian school were 
indebted to him in the Politics has been little recognised, and 
the recognition is the more necessary because it is not made by 
Aristotle himself. The two philosophers had more in common than 
they were conscious of; and probably some elements of Plato 
remain still undetected in Aristotle. In English philosophy too, 
many affinities may be traced, not only in the works of the Cam- 
bridge Platonists, but in great original writers like Berkeley or 
Coleridge, to Plato and his ideas. That there is a truth higher than 
experience, of which the mind bears witness to herself, is a conviction 
which in our own generation has been enthusiastically asserted, and 
is perhaps gaining ground. Of the Greek authors who at the 
Renaissance brought a new life into the world Plato has had the 
greatest influence. The Republic of Plato is also the first treatise 
upon education, of which the writings of Milton and Locke, 
Rousseau, Jean Paul, and Goethe are the legitimate descendants. 
Like Dante or Bunyan, he has a revelation of another life ; like 
Bacon, he is profoundly impressed with the unity of knowledge ; 
in the early Church he exercised a real influence on theology, 
and at the Revival of Literature on politics. Even the fragments 
of his words when ' repeated at second-hand ' (Symp. 215 D) have 
in all ages ravished the hearts of men, who have seen reflected 
in them their own higher nature. He is the father of idealism in 
philosophy, in politics, in literature. And many of the latest 
conceptions of modern thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity 
of knowledge, the reign of law, and the equality of the sexes, 
have been anticipated in a dream by him. 

The argument of the Republic is the search after Justice, the 
nature of which is first hinted at by Cephalus, the just and blame- 

iv The argument of the Republic. 

Republic, less old man then discussed on the basis of proverbial morality 
by Socrates and Polemarchus then caricatured by Thrasymachus 
and partially explained by Socrates reduced to an abstraction by 
Glaucon and Adeimantus, and having become invisible in the 
individual reappears at length in the ideal State which is con- 
structed by Socrates. The first care of the rulers is to be educa- 
tion, of which an outline is drawn after the old Hellenic model, 
providing only for an improved religion and morality, and more 
simplicity in music and gymnastic, a manlier strain of poetry, and 
greater harmony of the individual and the State. We are thus 
led on to the conception of a higher State, in which ' no man calls 
anything his own,' and in which there is neither 'marrying nor 
giving in marriage,' and 'kings are philosophers' and 'philoso- 
phers are kings ; ' and there is another and higher education, in- 
tellectual as well as moral and religious, of science as well as of 
art, and not of youth only but of the whole of life. Such a State 
is hardly to be realized in this world and quickly degenerates. 
To the perfect ideal succeeds the government of the soldier and 
the lover of honour, this again declining into democracy, and de- 
mocracy into tyranny, in an imaginary but regular order having 
not much resemblance to the actual facts. When ' the wheel has 
come full circle' we do not begin again with a new period of 
human life ; but we have passed from the best to the worst, and 
there we end. The subject is then changed and the old quarrel of 
poetry and philosophy which had been more lightly treated in 
the earlier books of the Republic is now resumed and fought out 
to a conclusion. Poetry is discovered to be an imitation thrice 
removed from the truth, and Homer, as well as the dramatic 
poets, having been condemned as an imitator, is sent into banish- 
ment along with them. And the idea of the State is supplemented 
by the revelation of a future life. 

The division into books, like all similar divisions \ is probably 
later than the age of Plato. The natural divisions are five in 
number ; (i) Book I and the first half of Book II down to p. 368, 
which is introductory ; the first book containing a refutation of the 
popular and sophistical notions of justice, and concluding, like 
some of the earlier Dialogues, without arriving at any definite 
result. To this is appended a restatement of the nature of justice 
1 Cp. Sir G. C. Lewis in the Classical Museum, vol. ii. p. i. 

The divisions. v 

according to common opinion, and an answer is demanded to the Republic. 
question What is justice, stripped of appearances ? The second 
division (2) includes the remainder of the second and the whole of 
the third and fourth books, which are mainly occupied with the 
construction of the first State and the first education. The third 
division (3) consists of the fifth, sixth, and seventh books, in which 
philosophy rather than justice is the subject of enquiry, and the 
second State is constructed on principles of communism and ruled 
by philosophers, and the contemplation of the idea of good takes 
the place of the social and political virtues. In the eighth and 
ninth books (4) the perversions of States and of the individuals who 
correspond to them are reviewed in succession ; and the nature of 
pleasure and the principle of tyranny are further analysed in the 
individual man. The tenth book (5) is the conclusion of the 
whole, in which the relations of philosophy to poetry are finally 
determined, and the happiness of the citizens in this life, which has 
now been assured, is crowned by the vision of another. 

Or a more general division into two parts may be adopted ; the 
first (Books I-IV) containing the description of a State framed 
generally in accordance with Hellenic notions of religion and 
morality, while in the second (Books V-X) the Hellenic State is 
transformed into an ideal kingdom of philosophy, of which all 
other governments are the perversions. These two points of view 
are really opposed, and the opposition is only veiled by the genius 
of Plato. The Republic, like the Phaedrus (see Introduction to 
Phaedrus), is an imperfect whole ; the higher light of philosophy 
breaks through the regularity of the Hellenic temple, which at last 
fades away into the heavens (592 B). Whether this imperfection of 
structure arises from an enlargement of the plan ; or from the im- 
perfect reconcilement in the writer's own mind of the struggling 
elements of thought which are now first brought together by 
him ; or, perhaps, from the composition of the work at different 
times are questions, like the similar question about the Iliad 
and the Odyssey, which are worth asking, but which cannot have 
a distinct answer. In the age of Plato there was no regular mode 
of publication, and an author would have the less scruple in 
altering or adding to a work which was known only to a few of 
his friends. There is no absurdity in supposing that he may have 
laid his labours aside for a time, or turned from one work to 

vi The second title. 

Republic, another ; and such interruptions would be more likely to occur 
m tne case f a lon g tnan f a short writing. In all attempts to 
determine the chronological order of the Platonic writings on 
internal evidence, this uncertainty about any single Dialogue being 
composed at one time is a disturbing element, which must be 
admitted to affect longer works, such as the Republic and the 
Laws, more than shorter ones. But, on the other hand, the 
seeming discrepancies of the Republic may only arise out of the 
discordant elements which the philosopher has attempted to unite 
in a single whole, perhaps without being himself able to recognise 
the inconsistency which is obvious to us. For there is a judgment 
of after ages which few great writers have ever been able to 
anticipate for themselves. They do not perceive the want of 
connexion in their own writings, or the gaps in their systems 
which are visible enough to those who come after them. In the 
beginnings of literature and philosophy, amid the first efforts of 
thought and language, more inconsistencies occur than now, when 
the paths of speculation are well worn and the meaning of words 
precisely defined. For consistency, too, is the growth of time ; 
and some of the greatest creations of the human mind have been 
wanting in unity. Tried by this test, several of the Platonic 
Dialogues, according to our modern ideas, appear to be defective, 
but the deficiency is no proof that they were composed at different 
times or by different hands. And the supposition that the Re- 
public was written uninterruptedly and by a continuous effort is 
in some degree confirmed by the numerous references from one 
part of the work to another. 

The second title, ' Concerning Justice,' is not the one by which 
the Republic is quoted, either by Aristotle or generally in antiquity, 
and, like the other second titles of the Platonic Dialogues, may 
therefore be assumed to be of later date. Morgenstern and others 
have asked whether the definition of justice, which is the professed 
aim, or the construction of the State is the principal argument of 
the work. The answer is, that the two blend in one, and are two 
faces of the same truth ; for justice is the order of the State, and 
the State is the visible embodiment of justice under the conditions 
of human society. The one is the soul and the other is the body, 
and the Greek ideal of the State, as of the individual, is a fair mind 
in a fair body. In Hegelian phraseology the state is the reality of 

Is there one argument or more ? vii 

which justice is the idea. Or, described in Christian language, the Republic. 
kingdom of God is within, and yet developes into a Church or ex- IN N. LC 
ternal kingdom ; ' the house not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens,' is reduced to the proportions of an earthly building. Or, 
to use a Platonic image, justice and the State are- the warp and the 
woof which run through the whole texture. And when the con- 
stitution of the State is completed, the conception of justice is not 
dismissed, but reappears under the same or different names 
throughout the work, both as the inner law of the individual soul, 
and finally as the principle of rewards and punishments in another 
life. The virtues are based on justice, of which common honesty 
in buying and selling is the shadow, and justice is based on the 
idea of good, which is the harmony of the world, and is reflected 
both in the institutions of states and in motions of the heavenly 
bodies (cp. Tim. 47). The Timaeus, which takes up the political 
rather than the ethical side of the Republic, and is chiefly occu- 
pied with hypotheses concerning the outward world, yet contains 
many indications that the same law is supposed to reign over the 
State, over nature, and over man. 

Too much, however, has been made of this question both in 
ancient and modern times. There is a stage of criticism in which 
all works, whether of nature or of art, are referred to design. 
Now in ancient writings, and indeed in literature generally, there 
remains often a large element which was not comprehended in the 
original design. For the plan grows under the author's hand ; 
new thoughts occur to him in the act of writing ; he has not 
worked out the argument to the end before he begins. The reader 
who seeks to find some one idea under which the whole may be 
conceived, must necessarily seize on the vaguest and most general. 
Thus Stallbaum, who is dissatisfied with the ordinary explanations 
of the argument of the Republic, imagines himself to have found 
the true argument ' in the representation of human life in a State 
perfected by justice, and governed according to the idea of good.' 
There may be some use in such general descriptions, but they can 
hardly be said to express the design of the writer. The truth is, 
that we may as well speak of many designs as of one ; nor need 
anything be excluded from the plan of a great work to which the 
mind is naturally led by the association of ideas, and which does 
not interfere with the general purpose. What kind or degree of 

viii The leading thoughts. 

Republic, unity is to be sought after in a building, in the plastic arts, in 
N ON! UC " poetry, in prose, is a problem which has to be determined rela- 
tively \p the subject-matter. To Plato himself, the enquiry ' what 
was the intention of the writer,' or ' what was the principal argu- 
ment of the Republic ' would have been hardly intelligible, and 
therefore had better be at once dismissed (cp. the Introduction to 
the Phaedrus, vol. i.). 

Is not the Republic the vehicle of three or four great truths which, 
to Plato's own mind, are most naturally represented in the form of 
the State ? Just as in the Jewish prophets the reign of Messiah, or 
* the day of the Lord,' or the suffering Servant or people of God, or 
the ' Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings ' only convey, 
to us at least, their great spiritual ideals, so through the Greek State 
Plato reveals to us his own thoughts about divine perfection, which 
is the idea of good like the sun in the visible world ; about human 
perfection, which is justice about education beginning in youth 
and continuing in later years about poets and sophists and tyrants 
who are the false teachers and evil rulers of mankind about * the 
world ' which is the embodiment of them about a kingdom which 
exists nowhere upon earth but is laid up in heaven to be the 
pattern and rule of human life. No such inspired creation is at 
unity with itself, any more than the clouds of heaven when the sun 
pierces through them. Every shade of light and dark, of truth, and 
of fiction which is the veil of truth, is allowable in a work of philo- 
sophical imagination. It is not all on the same plane ; it easily 
passes from ideas to myths and fancies, from facts to figures of 
speech. It is not prose but poetry, at least a great part of it, and 
ought not to be judged by the rules of logic or the probabilities 
of history. The writer is not fashioning his ideas into an artistic 
whole ; they take possession of him and are too much for him. 
We have no need therefore to discuss whether a State such as 
Plato has conceived is practicable or not, or whether the outward 
form or the inward life came first into the mind of the writer. For 
the practicability of his ideas has nothing to do with their truth 
(v. 472 D) ; and the highest thoughts to which he attains may be 
truly said to bear the greatest ' marks of design 'justice more 
than the external frame-work of the State, the idea of good more 
than justice. The great science of dialectic or the organisation of 
ideas has no real content ; but is only a type of the method or 

The imaginary date. ix 

spirit in which the higher knowledge is to be pursued by the Republic. 
spectator of all time and all existence. It is in the fifth, sixth, and IN UC ' 
seventh books that Plato reaches the * summit of speculation,' and 
these, although they fail to satisfy the requirements of a modern 
thinker, may therefore be regarded as the most important, as they 
are also the most original, portions of the work. 

It is not necessary to discuss at length a minor question which 
has been raised by Boeckh, respecting the imaginary date at which 
the conversation was held (the year 411 B.C. which is proposed by 
him will do as well as any other) ; for a writer of fiction, and 
especially a writer who, like Plato, is notoriously careless of 
chronology (cp. Rep. i. 336, Symp. 193 A, etc.), only aims at general 
probability. Whether all the persons mentioned in the Republic 
could ever have met at any one time is not a difficulty which 
would have occurred to an Athenian reading the work forty years 
later, or to Plato himself at the time of writing (any more than to 
Shakespeare respecting one of his own dramas) ; and need not 
greatly trouhjle us now. Yet this may be a question having no 
answer * which is still worth asking, 5 because the investigation shows 
that we cannot argue historically from the dates in Plato ; it would be 
useless therefore to waste time in inventing far-fetched reconcile- 
ments of them in order to avoid chronological difficulties, such, for 
example, as the conjecture of C. F. Hermann, that Glaucon and 
Adeimantus are not the brothers but the uncles of Plato (cp. Apol. 
34 A), or the fancy of Stallbaum that Plato intentionally left ana- 
chronisms indicating the dates at which some of his Dialogues 
were written. 

The principal characters in the Republic are Cephalus, Pole- 
marchus, Thrasymachus, Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. 
Cephalus appears in the introduction only, Polemarchus drops at 
the end of the first argument, and Thrasymachus is reduced to 
silence at the close of the first book. The main discussion is 
carried on by Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Among the 
company are Lysias (the orator) and Euthydemus, the sons of 
Cephalus and brothers of Polemarchus, an unknown Charmantides 
these are mute auditors ; also there is Cleitophon, who once 
interrupts (340 A), where, as in the Dialogue which bears his 
name, he appears as the friend and ally of Thrasymachus. 

K The characters : Cephalus and Polemarchus : 

Republic. Cephalus, the patriarch of the house, has been appropriately 
IN ON UC ~ engaged in offering a sacrifice. He is the pattern of an old man 
who has almost done with life, and is at peace with himself and 
with all mankind. He feels that he is drawing nearer to the 
world below, and seems to linger around the memory of the past. 
He is eager that Socrates should come to visit him, fond of the 
poetry of the last generation, happy in the consciousness of a 
well-spent life, glad at having escaped from the tyranny of youth- 
ful lusts. His love of conversation, his affection, his indifference 
to riches, even his garrulity, are interesting traits of character. 
He is not one of those who have nothing to say, because their 
whole mind has been absorbed in making money. Yet he acknow- 
ledges that riches have the advantage of placing men above the 
temptation to dishonesty or falsehood. The respectful attention 
shown to him by Socrates, whose love of conversation, no less 
than the mission imposed upon him by the Oracle, leads him to 
ask questions of all men, young and old alike (cp., i. 328 A), should 
also be noted. Who better suited to raise the question of justice 
than Cephalus, whose life might seem to be the expression of 
it ? The moderation with which old age is pictured by Cephalus 
as a very tolerable portion of existence is characteristic, not only 
of him, but of Greek feeling generally, and contrasts with the 
exaggeration of Cicero in the De Senectute. The evening of 
life is described by Plato in the most expressive manner, yet 
with the fewest possible touches. As Cicero remarks (Ep. ad 
Attic, iv. 16), the aged Cephalus would have been out of place in 
the discussion which follows, and which he could neither have 
understood nor taken part in without a violation of dramatic 
propriety (cp. Lysimachus in the Laches, 89). 

His 'son and heir' Polemarchus has the frankness and im- 
petuousness of youth ; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the 
opening scene, and will not ' let him off' (v. 449 B) on the subject of 
women and children. Like Cephalus, he is limited in his point of 
view, and represents the proverbial stage of morality which has 
rules of life rather than principles ; and he quotes Simonides (cp. 
Aristoph. Clouds, 1355 ff.) as his father had quoted Pindar. But after 
this he has no more to say; the answers which he makes are 
only elicited from him by the dialectic of Socrates. He has not 
yet experienced the influence of the Sophists like Glaucon and 

Thrasymachus : xi 

Adeimantus, nor is he sensible of the necessity of refuting them ; he Republic. 
belongs to the pre-Socratic or pre-dialectical age. He is incapable 
of arguing, and is bewildered by Socrates to such a degree that he 
does not know what he is saying. He is made to admit that 
justice is a thief, and that the virtues follow the analogy of the arts 
(i. 333 E). From his brother Lysias (contra Eratosth. p. 121) we 
learn that he fell a victim to the Thirty Tyrants, but no allusion is 
here made to his fate, nor to the circumstance that Cephalus and 
his family were of Syracusan origin, and had migrated from 
Thurii to Athens. 

The ' Chalcedonian giant,' Thrasymachus, of whom we have 
already heard in the Phaedrus (267 D), is the personification of 
the Sophists, according to Plato's conception of them, in some of 
their worst characteristics. He is vain and blustering, refusing to 
discourse unless he is paid, fond of making an oration, and hoping 
thereby to escape the inevitable Socrates; but a mere child in 
argument, and unable to foresee that the next 'move' (to use a 
Platonic expression) will ' shut him up ' (vi. 487 B). He has reached 
the stage of framing general notions, and in this respect is in 
advance of Cephalus and Polemarchus. But he is incapable of 
defending them in a discussion, and vainly tries to cover his con- 
fusion with banter and insolence. Whether such doctrines as are 
attributed to him by Plato were really held either by him or by 
any other Sophist is uncertain ; in the infancy of philosophy 
serious errors about morality might easily grow up they are 
certainly put into the mouths of speakers in Thucydides ; but we 
are concerned at present with Plato's description of him, and not 
with the historical reality. The inequality of the contest adds 
greatly to the humour of the scene. The pompous and empty 
Sophist is utterly helpless in the hands of the great master of 
dialectic, who knows how to touch all the springs of vanity and 
weakness in him. He is greatly irritated by the irony of Socrates, 
but his noisy and imbecile rage only lays him more and more 
open to the thrusts of his assailant. His determination to cram 
down their throats, or put ' bodily into their souls ' his own words, 
elicits a cry of horror from Socrates. The state of his temper 
is quite as worthy of remark as the process of the argument. 
Nothing is more amusing than his complete submission when he 
has been once thoroughly beaten. At first he seems to continue 

xii Glaucon and Adeimantus. 

Republic, the discussion with reluctance, but soon with apparent good-will, 
and he even testifies his interest at a later stage by one or two 
occasional remarks (v. 450 A, B). When attacked by Glaucon 
(vi. 498 C, D) he is humorously protected by Socrates * as one who 
has never been his enemy and is now his friend.' From Cicero 
and Quintilian and from Aristotle's Rhetoric (iii. i. 7 ; ii. 23. 29) we 
learn that the Sophist whom Plato has made so ridiculous was a 
man of note whose writings were preserved in later ages. The 
play on his name which was made by his contemporary Herodicus 
(Aris. Rhet. ii. 23, 29), ' thou wast ever bold in battle/ seems to 
show that the description of him is not devoid of verisimilitude. 

When Thrasymachus has been silenced, the two principal re- 
spondents, Glaucon and Adeimantus, appear on the scene : here, 
as in Greek tragedy (cp. Introd. to Phaedo), three actors are in- 
troduced. At first sight the two sons of Ariston may seem to 
wear a family likeness, like the two friends Simmias and Cebes in 
the Phaedo. But on a nearer examination of them the similarity 
vanishes, and they are seen to be distinct characters. Glaucon is 
the impetuous youth who can 'just never have enough of fechting' 
(cp. the character of him in Xen. Mem. iii. 6) ; the man of pleasure 
who is acquainted with the mysteries of love (v. 474 D) ; the 
'juvenis qui gaudet canibus,' and who improves the breed of 
animals (v. 459 A) ; the lover of art and music (iii. 398 D, E) who 
has all the experiences of youthful life. He is full of quickness 
and penetration, piercing easily below the clumsy platitudes of 
Thrasymachus to the real difficulty; he turns out to the light the 
seamy side of human life, and yet does not lose faith in the just 
and true. It is Glaucon who seizes what may be termed the 
ludicrous relation of the philosopher to the world, to whom a state 
of simplicity is ' a city of pigs,' who is always prepared with a jest 
(iii. 398 C, 407 A ; v. 450, 451, 468 C ; vi. 509 C ; ix. 586) when the 
argument offers him an opportunity, and who is ever ready to 
second the humour of Socrates and to appreciate the ridiculous, 
whether in the connoisseurs of music (vii. 531 A), or in the lovers 
of theatricals (v. 475 D), or in the fantastic behaviour of the citizens 
of democracy (viii. 557 foil.). His weaknesses are several times 
alluded to by Socrates (iii. 402 E ; v. 474 D, 475 E), who, however, 
will not allow him to be attacked by his brother Adeimantus 
(viii. 548 D, E). He is a soldier, and, like Adeimantus, has been 

The difference between them. xiii 

distinguished at the battle of Megara (368 A, anno 456 ?). . . The Republic. 
character of Adeimantus is deeper and graver, and the profounder 
objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is more 
demonstrative, and generally opens the game ; Adeimantus pur- 
sues the argument further. Glaucon has more of the liveliness 
and quick sympathy of youth ; Adeimantus has the maturer judg- 
ment of a grown-up man of the world. In the second book, when 
Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall be considered with- 
out regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks that they 
are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their 
consequences ; and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the 
beginning of the fourth book that Socrates fails in making his 
citizens happy, and is answered that happiness is not the first but 
the second thing, not the direct aim but the indirect consequence 
of the good government of a State. In the discussion about re- 
ligion and mythology, Adeimantus is the respondent (iii. 376-398), 
but at p. 398 C, Glaucon breaks in with a slight jest, and carries on 
the conversation in a lighter tone about music and gymnastic to 
the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who volunteers the 
criticism of common sense on the Socratic method of argument 
(vi. 487 B), and who refuses to let Socrates pass lightly over the ques- 
tion of women and children (v. 449). It is Adeimantus who is the re- 
spondent in the more argumentative, as Glaucon in the lighter and 
more imaginative portions of the Dialogue. For example, through- 
out the greater part of the sixth book, the causes of the corruption 
of philosophy and the conception of the idea of good are discussed 
with Adeimantus. At p. 506 C, Glaucon resumes his place of 
principal respondent ; but he has a difficulty in apprehending the 
higher education of Socrates, and makes some false hits in the 
course of the discussion (526 D, 527 D). Once more Adeimantus 
returns (viii. 548) with the allusion to his brother Glaucon whom he 
compares to the contentious State ; in the next book (ix. 576) he is 
again superseded, and Glaucon continues to the end (x. 621 B). 

Thus in a succession of characters Plato represents the succes- 
sive stages of morality, beginning with the Athenian gentleman of 
the olden time, who is followed by the practical man of that day 
regulating his life by proverbs and saws; to him succeeds the 
wild generalization of the Sophists, and lastly come the young 
disciples of the great teacher, who know the sophistical arguments 

xiv The real and the Platonic Socrates. 

Republic, but will not be convinced by them, and desire to go deeper into 
~ the nature of things. These too, like Cephalus, Polemarchus, 
Thrasymachus, are clearly distinguished from one another. 
Neither in the Republic, nor in any other Dialogue of Plato, is 
a single character repeated. 

The delineation of Socrates in the Republic is not wholly con- 
sistent. In the first book we have more of the real Socrates, such 
as he is depicted in the Memorabilia of Xenophon, in the earliest 
Dialogues of Plato, and in the Apology. He is ironical, provoking, 
questioning, the old enemy of the Sophists, ready to put on the 
mask of Silenus as well as to argue seriously. But in the sixth 
book his enmity towards the Sophists abates ; he acknowledges 
that they are the representatives rather than the corrupters of the 
world (vi. 492 A). He also becomes more dogmatic and construc- 
tive, passing beyond the range either of the political or the specu- 
lative ideas of the real Socrates. In one passage (vi. 506 C) Plato 
himself seems to intimate that the time had now come for Socrates, 
who had passed his whole life in philosophy, to give his own 
opinion and not to be always repeating the notions of other men. 
There is no evidence that either the idea of good or the conception 
of a perfect state were comprehended in the Socratic teaching, 
though he certainly dwelt on the nature of the universal and of 
final causes (cp. Xen. Mem. i. 4 ; Phaedo 97) ; and a deep thinker 
like him, in his thirty or forty years of public teaching, could 
hardly have failed to touch on the nature of family relations, for 
which there is also some positive evidence in the Memorabilia 
(Mem. i. 2, 51 foil.). The Socratic method is nominally retained ; 
and every inference is either put into the mouth of the respondent 
or represented as the common discovery of him and Socrates. 
But any one can see that this is a mere form, of which the affec- 
tation grows wearisome as the work advances. The method of 
enquiry has passed into a method of teaching in which by the help 
of interlocutors the same thesis is looked at from various points of 
view. The nature of the process is truly characterized by Glaucon, 
when he describes himself as a companion who is not good for 
much in an investigation, but can see what he is shown (iv. 432 C), 
and may, perhaps, give the answer to a question more fluently 
than another (v. 474 A ; cp. 389 A). 

Neither can we be absolutely certain that Socrates himself 

Socrates. xv 

taught the immortality of the soul, which is unknown to his disciple Republic. 
Glaucon in the Republic (x. 608 D ; cp. vi. 498 D, E ; Apol. 40, 41) ; IN O UC - 
nor is there any reason to suppose that he used myths or reve- 
lations of another world as a vehicle of instruction, or that he 
would have banished poetry or have denounced the Greek 
mythology. His favourite oath is retained, and a slight mention is 
made of the daemonium, or internal sign, which is alluded to by 
Socrates as a phenomenon peculiar to himself (vi. 496 C). A real 
element of Socratic teaching, which is more prominent in the 
Republic than in any of the other Dialogues of Plato, is the use of 
example and illustration (ra $opriKa avrcS irpoo-fyepovTfs, iv. 442 E) : 
* Let us apply the test of common instances.' ' You,' says Adei- 
mantus, ironically, in the sixth book, 'are so unaccustomed to 
speak in images.' And this use of examples or images, though 
truly Socratic in origin, is enlarged by the genius of Plato into the 
form of an allegory or parable, which embodies in the concrete 
what has been already described, or is about to be described, in 
the abstract. Thus the figure of the cave in Book VII is a re- 
capitulation of the divisions of knowledge in Book VI. The 
composite animal in Book IX is an allegory of the parts of the 
soul. The noble captain and the ship and the true pilot in Book VI 
are a figure of the relation of the people to the philosophers in the 
State which has been described. Other figures, such as the dog 
(ii. 375 A, D ; iii. 404 A, 416 A ; v. 451 D), or the marriage of the 
portionless maiden (vi. 495, 496), or the drones and wasps in the 
eighth and ninth books, also form links of connexion in long 
passages, or are used to recall previous discussions. 

Plato is most true to the character of his master when he 
describes him as ' not of this world.' And with this representation 
of him the ideal state and the other paradoxes of the Republic are 
quite in accordance, though they cannot be shown to have been 
speculations of Socrates. To him, as to other great teachers both 
philosophical and religious, when they looked upward, the world 
seemed to be the embodiment of error and evil. The common sense 
of mankind has revolted against this view, or has only partially ad- 
mitted it. And even in Socrates himself the sterner judgement 
of the multitude at times passes into a sort of ironical pity or love. 
Men in general are incapable of philosophy, and are therefore at 
enmity with the philosopher ; but their misunderstanding of him 

xvi Analysis 327. 

Republic, is unavoidable (vi. 494 foil. ; ix. 589 D) : for they have never seen 
lN r1oN. UC " mm as ne tru ly i m m s own image; they are only acquainted 
with artificial systems possessing no native force of truth words 
which admit of many applications. Their leaders have nothing to 
measure with, and are therefore ignorant of their own stature. 
But they are to be pitied or laughed at, not to be quarrelled with ; 
they mean well with their nostrums, if they could only learn that 
they are cutting off a Hydra's head (iv. 426 D, E). This modera- 
tion towards those who are in error is one of the most charac- 
teristic features of Socrates in the Republic (vi. 499-502). In all 
the different representations of Socrates, whether of Xenophon or 
Plato, and amid the differences of the earlier or later Dialogues, 
he always retains the character of the unwearied and disinterested 
seeker after truth, without which he would have ceased to be 

Leaving the characters we may now analyse the contents of the 
Republic, and then proceed to consider (i) The .general aspects of 
this Hellenic ideal of the State, (2) The modern lights in which the 
thoughts of Plato may be read. 

ANALYSIS. BOOK I. The Republic opens with a truly Greek scene a 
festival in honour of the goddess Bendis which is held in the 
Piraeus ; to this is added the promise of an equestrian torch-race 
in the evening. The whole work is supposed to be recited by 
Socrates on the day after the festival to a small party, consisting of 
Critias, Timaeus, Hermocrates, and another ; this we learn from 
the first words of the Timaeus. 

When the rhetorical advantage of reciting the Dialogue has been 
gained, the attention is not distracted by any reference to the au- 
dience ; nor is the reader further reminded of the extraordinary 
length of the narrative. Of the numerous company, three only 
take any serious part in the discussion; nor are we informed 
whether in the evening they went to the torch-race, or talked, as 
in the Symposium, through the night. The manner in which the 
conversation has arisen is described as follows :- Socrates and his Steph. 
companion Glaucon are about to leave the festival when they are 3 * 7 
detained by a message from Polemarchus, who speedily appears 
accompanied by Adeimantus, the brother of Glaucon, and with 
playful violence compels them to remain, promising them not only 

Analysis 328-331. xvii 

328 the torch-race, but the pleasure of conversation with the young, Republic 

which to Socrates is a far greater attraction. They return to the 


house of Cephalus, Polemarchus' father, now in extreme old age, 
who is found sitting upon a cushioned seat crowned for a sacrifice. 
' You" should come to me oftener, Socrates, for I am too old to go 
to you ; and at my time of life, having lost other pleasures, I care 
the more for conversation.' Socrates asks him what he thinks of 

329 age, to which the old man replies, that the sorrows and discontents 
of age are to be attributed to the tempers of men, and that age is a 
time of peace in which the tyranny of the passions is no longer 
felt. Yes, replies Socrates, but the world will say, Cephalus, that 
you are happy in old age because you are rich. 'And there is 
something in what they say, Socrates, but not so much as they 

330 imagine as Themistocles replied to the Seriphian, " Neither you, 
if you had been an Athenian, nor I, if I had been a Seriphian, 
would ever have been famous," I might in like manner reply to 
you, Neither a good poor man can be happy in age, nor yet a bad 
rich man.' Socrates remarks that Cephalus appears not to care 
about riches, a quality which he ascribes to his having inherited, 
not acquired them, and would like to know what he considers to 
be the chief advantage of them. Cephalus answers that when 
you are old the belief in the world below grows upon you, and 

331 then to have done justice and never to have been compelled to 
do injustice through poverty, and never to have deceived any 
one, are felt to be unspeakable blessings. Socrates, who is 
evidently preparing for an argument, next asks, What is the 
meaning of the word justice ? To tell the truth and pay your 
debts? No more than this? Or must we admit exceptions? 
Ought I, for example, to put back into the hands of my friend, 
who has gone mad, the sword which I borrowed of him when he 
was in his right mind ? ' There must be exceptions.' ' And yet/ 
says Polemarchus, ' the definition which has been given has the 
authority of Simonides.' Here Cephalus retires to look after the 
sacrifices, and bequeaths, as Socrates facetiously remarks, the 
possession of the argument to his heir, Polemarchus 

The description of old age is finished, and Plato, as his manner INTRODUC- 
is, has touched the key-note of the whole work in asking for the 
definition of justice, first suggesting the question which Glaucon 
afterwards pursues respecting external goods, and preparing for 


xviii Analysis 332-335. 

Republic the concluding mythus of the world below in the slight allusion of 
Cephalus. The portrait of the just man is a natural frontispiece or 

introduction to the long discourse which follows, and may perhaps 
imply that in all our perplexity about the nature of justice, there 
is no difficulty in discerning * who is a just man.' The first ex- 
planation has been supported by a saying of Simonides ; and now 
Socrates has a mind to show that the resolution of justice into two 
unconnected precepts, which have no common principle, fails to 
satisfy the demands of dialectic. 
ANALYSIS. ..... He proceeds : What did Simonides mean by this saying of 332 

his ? Did he mean that I was to give back arms to a madman ? * No, 
not in that case, not if the parties are friends, and evil would result. 
He meant that you were to do what was .proper, good to friends 
and harm to enemies.' Every act does something to somebody ; 
and following this analogy, Socrates asks, What is this due and 
proper thing which justice does, and to whom ? He is answered 
that justice does good to friends and harm to enemies. But in 
what way good or harm ? ' In making alliances with the one, and 
going to war with the other.' Then in time of peace what is the 
good of justice ? The answer is that justice is of use in contracts, 333 
and contracts are money partnerships. Yes ; but how in such 
partnerships is the just man of more use than any other man ? 
' When you want to have money safely kept and not used.' Then 
justice will be useful when money is useless. And there is another 
difficulty : justice, like the art of war or any other art, must be of 
opposites, good at attack as well as at defence, at stealing as well 334 
as at guarding. But then justice is a thief, though a hero notwith- 
standing, like Autolycus, the Homeric hero, who was ' excellent 
above all men in theft and perjury ' to such a pass have you and 
Homer and Simonides brought us ; though I do not forget that the 
thieving must be for the good of friends and the harm of enemies. 
And still there arises another question : Are friends to be in- 
terpreted as real or seeming ; enemies as real or seeming ? And 335 
are our friends to be only the good, and our enemies to be the 
evil ? The answer is, that we must do good to our seeming and 
real good friends, and evil to our seeming and real evil enemies 
good to the good, evil to the evil. But ought we to render evil for 
evil at all, when to do so will only make men more evil ? Can 
justice produce injustice any more than the art of horsemanship 

The early stages of morality. xix 

can make bad horsemen, or heat produce cold ? The final con- Republic 



elusion is, that no sage or poet ever said that the just return evil ' 

for evil ; this was a maxim of some rich and mighty man, Peri- 
336 ander, Perdiccas, or Ismenias the Theban (about B.C. 398-381) 

Thus the first stage of aphoristic or unconscious morality is 
shown to be inadequate to the wants of the age ; the authority 
of the poets is set aside, and through the winding mazes of 
dialectic we make an approach to the Christian precept of for- 
giveness of injuries. Similar words are applied by the Persian 
mystic poet to the Divine being when the questioning spirit is 
stirred within him : ' If because I do evil, Thou punishest me 
by evil, what is the difference between Thee and me ? ' In this 
both Plato and Kheyam rise above the level of many Christian (?) 
theologians. The first definition of justice easily passes into the 
second ; for the simple words 'to speak the truth and pay your debts 1 
is substituted the more abstract ' to do good to your friends and 
harm to your enemies.' Either of these explanations gives a sufficient 
rule of life for plain men, but they both fall short of the precision 
of philosophy. We may note in passing the antiquity of casuistry, 
which not only arises out of the conflict of established principles 
in particular cases, but also out of the effort to attain them, and 
is prior as well as posterior to our fundamental notions of 
morality. The ' interrogation * of moral ideas ; the appeal to 
the authority of Homer; the conclusion that the maxim, 'Do 
good to your friends and harm to your enemies,' being erroneous, 
could not have been the word of any great man (cp. ii. 380 A, B), 
are all of them very characteristic of the Platonic Socrates. 

. . . Here Thrasymachus, who has made several attempts to ANALYSIS. 
interrupt, but has hitherto been kept in order by the company, 
takes advantage of a pause and rushes into the arena, beginning, 
like a savage animal, with a roar. < Socrates,' he says, ' what 
folly is this? Why do you agree to be vanquished by one 
another in a pretended argument ? ' He then prohibits all the 

337 ordinary definitions of justice ; to which Socrates replies that 
he cannot tell how many twelve is, if he is forbidden to say 
2 x 6, or 3 x 4, or 6 x 2, or 4 x 3. At first Thrasymachus is reluctant 

338 to argue ; but at length, with a promise of payment on the part of 

C 2 

xx Analysis 338-343. 

Republic the company and of praise from Socrates, he is induced to open 
ANALYSIS the ame - ' Listen,' he says ; * my answer is that might is right, 
justice the interest of the stronger : now praise me. 3 Let me 
understand you first. Do you mean that because Polydamas the 
wrestler, who is stronger than we are, finds the eating of beef 
for his interest, the eating of beef is also for our interest, who 
are not so strong ? Thrasymachus is indignant at the illustration, 
and in pompous words, apparently intended to restore dignity to 
the argument, he explains his meaning to be that the rulers make 
laws for their own interests. But suppose, says Socrates, that the 339 
ruler or stronger makes a mistake then the interest of the 
stronger is not his interest Thrasymachus is saved from this 
speedy downfall by his disciple Cleitophon, who introduces the 340 
word ' thinks ; 'not the actual interest of the ruler, but what he 
thinks or what seems to be his interest, is justice. The contra- 
diction is escaped by the unmeaning evasion : for though his real 
and apparent interests may differ, what the ruler thinks to be his 
interest will always remain what he thinks to be his interest. 

Of course this was not the original assertion, nor is the new 
interpretation accepted by Thrasymachus himself. But Socrates 
is not disposed to quarrel about words, if, as he significantly 
insinuates, his adversary has changed his mind. In what follows 
Thrasymachus does in fact withdraw his admission that the ruler 
may make a mistake, for he affirms that the ruler as a ruler is 
infallible. Socrates is quite ready to accept the new position, 341 
which he equally turns against Thrasymachus by the help of 
the analogy of the arts. Every art or science has an interest, but 342 
this interest is to be distinguished from the accidental interest 
of the artist, and is only concerned with the good of the things or 
persons which come under the art. And justice has an interest 
which is the interest not of the ruler or judge, but of those 
who come under his sway. 

Thrasymachus is on the brink of the inevitable conclusion, 
when he makes a bold diversion. 'Tell me, Socrates,' he says, 343 
' have you a nurse ? ' What a question ! Why do you ask ? 
' Because, if you have, she neglects you and lets you go about 
drivelling, and has not even taught you to know the shepherd 
from the' sheep. For you fancy that shepherds and rulers never 
think of their own interest, but only of their sheep or subjects, 

Analysis 343-347. xxi 

whereas the truth is that they fatten them for their use, sheep and Republic 
subjects alike. And experience proves that in every relation ANAL ' 
of life the just man is the loser and the unjust the gainer, 

344 especially where injustice is on the grand scale, which is quite 
another thing from the petty rogueries of swindlers and burglars 
and robbers of temples. The language of men proves this our 
'gracious' and 'blessed 3 tyrant and the like all which tends to 
show (i) that justice is the interest of the stronger ; and (2) that 
injustice is more profitable and also stronger than justice.' 

Thrasymachus, who is better at a speech than at a close 
argument, having deluged the company with words, has a mind 

345 to escape. But the others will not let him go, and Socrates adds 
a humble but earnest request that he will not desert them at 
such a crisis of their fate. ' And what can I do more for you ? ' 
he says ; ' would you have me put the words bodily into your 
souls?' God forbid! replies Socrates; but we want you to 
be consistent in the use of terms, and not to employ * physician ' 
in an exact sense, and then again ' shepherd ' or ' ruler ' in an 
inexact, if the words are strictly taken, the ruler and the 
shepherd look only to the good of their people or flocks and 
not to their own : whereas you insist that rulers are solely 
actuated by love of office. ' No doubt about it,' replies Thrasy- 

346 machus. Then why are they paid ? Is not the reason, that their 
interest is not comprehended in their art, and is therefore the 
concern of another art, the art of pay, which is common to the 
arts in general, and therefore not identical with any one of them ? 

347 Nor would any man be a ruler unless he were induced by the 
hope of reward or the fear of punishment ; the reward is money 
or honour, the punishment is the necessity of being ruled by a 
man worse than himself. And if a State [or Church] were com- 
posed entirely of good men, they would be affected by the last 
motive only; and there would be as much 'nolo episcopari' as 
there is at present of the opposite. . . . 

The satire on existing governments is heightened by the simple INTRODUC- 
and apparently incidental manner in which the last remark is 
introduced. There is a similar irony in the argument that the 
governors of mankind do not like being in office, and that there- 
fore they demand pay. 

Enough of this : the other assertion of Thrasymachus is far ANALYSIS. 

xxii Analysis 348-352. 

Republic more important that the unjust life is more gainful than the just. 

ANA YSIS N w > as y u an< * Ii Glaucon, are not convinced by him, we must 348 
reply to him ; but if we try to compare their respective gains 
we shall want a judge to decide for us ; we had better therefore 
proceed by making mutual admissions of the truth to one another. 
Thrasymachus had asserted that perfect injustice was more 
gainful than perfect justice, and after a little hesitation he is 
induced by Socrates to admit the still greater paradox that in- 349 
justice is virtue and justice vice. Socrates praises his frankness, 
and assumes the attitude of one whose only wish is to understand 
the meaning of his opponents. At the same time he is weaving 
a net in which Thrasymachus is finally enclosed. The admission 
is elicited from him that the just man seeks to gain an advantage 
over the unjust only, but not over the just, while the unjust 
would gain an advantage over either. Socrates, in order to test 
this statement, employs once more the favourite analogy of the 
arts. The musician, doctor, skilled artist of any sort, does not 350 
seek to gain more than the skilled, but only more than the 
unskilled (that is to say, he works up to a rule, standard, law, 
and does not exceed it), whereas the unskilled makes random 
efforts at excess. Thus the skilled falls on the side of the good, 
and the unskilled on the side of the evil, and the just is the skilled, 
and the unjust is the unskilled. 

There was great difficulty in bringing Thrasymachus to the 
point ; the day was hot and he was streaming with perspiration, 
and for the first time in his life he was seen to blush. But his 
other thesis that injustice was stronger than justice has not yet 
been refuted, and Socrates now proceeds to the consideration of 
this, which, with the assistance of Thrasymachus, he hopes to 
clear up ; the latter is at first churlish, but in the judicious hands 
of Socrates is soon restored to good-humour : Is there not honour 35 1 
among thieves ? Is not the strength of injustice only a remnant 
of justice ? Is not absolute injustice absolute weakness also ? 
A house that is divided against itself cannot stand ; two men who 35 * 
quarrel detract from one another's strength, and he who is at 
war with himself is -the enemy of himself and the gods. Not 
wickedness therefore, but semi-wickedness flourishes in states, 
a remnant of good is needed in order to make union in action 
possible, there is no kingdom of evil in this world. 

The three arguments respecting justice, xxiii 

Another question has not been answered : Is the just or the Republic 

353 unjust the happier ? To this we reply, that every art has an ANAL y SIS 
end and an excellence or virtue by which the end is accomplished. 

And is not the end of the soul happiness, and justice the ex- 
cellence of the soul by which happiness is attained? Justice 

354 and happiness being thus shown to be inseparable, the question 
whether the just or the unjust is the happier has disappeared. 

Thrasymachus replies : ' Let this be your entertainment,. 
Socrates, at the festival of Bendis.' Yes ; and a very good 
entertainment with which your kindness has supplied me, now 
that you have left off scolding. And yet not a good entertainment 
but that was my own fault, for I tasted of too many things. First 
of all the nature of justice was the subject of our enquiry, and 
then whether justice is virtue and wisdom, or evil and folly ; and 
then the comparative advantages of just and unjust : and the sum 
of all is that I know not what justice is ; how then shall I know 
whether the just is happy or not ? . . . 

Thus the sophistical fabric has been demolished., chiefly by INTRODUC- 
appealing to the analogy of the arts. 'Justice is like the arts 
(i) in having no external interest, and (2) in not aiming at excess, 
and (3) justice is to happiness what the implement of the work- 
man is to his work.' At this the modern reader is apt to stumble, 
because he forgets that Plato is writing in an age when the arts 
and the virtues, like the moral and intellectual faculties, were still 
undistinguished. Among early enquirers into the nature of 
human action the arts helped to fill up the void of speculation ; 
and at first the comparison of the arts and the virtues was not 
perceived by them to be fallacious. They only saw the points of 
agreement in them and not the points of difference. Virtue, like 
art, must take means to an end ; good manners are both an art 
and a virtue ; character is naturally described under the image 
of a statue (ii. 361 D ; vii. 540 C) ; and there are many other figures 
of speech which are readily transferred from art to morals. The 
next generation cleared up these perplexities ; or at least supplied 
after ages with a further analysis of them. The contemporaries 
of Plato were in a state of transition, and had not yet fully 
realized the common-sense distinction of Aristotle, that 'virtue 
is concerned with action, art with production ' (Nic. Eth. vi. 4), 
or that 'virtue implies intention and constancy of purpose/ 

xxiv The just is of the nature of the finite. 

Republic whereas ' art requires knowledge only ' (Nic. Eth. ii. 3). And yet 
*' in the absurdities which follow from some uses of the analogy 

TION, (cp. i. 333 E, 334 B), there seems to be an intimation conveyed that 

virtue is more than art. This is implied in the reductio ad ab- 
surdum that 'justice is a thief,' and in the dissatisfaction which 
Socrates expresses at the final result. 

The expression ' an art of pay ' (i. 346 B) which is described as 
'common to all the arts' is not in accordance with the ordinary use 
of language. Nor is it employed elsewhere either by Plato or by 
any other Greek writer. It is suggested by the argument, and 
seems to extend the conception of art to doing as well as making. 
Another flaw or inaccuracy of language may be noted in the words 
(i. 335 C) 'men who are injured are made more unjust.' For 
those who are injured are not necessarily made worse, but only 
harmed or ill-treated. 

The second of the three arguments, 'that the just does not 
aim at excess,' has a real meaning, though wrapped up in an 
enigmatical form. That the good is of the nature of the finite 
is a peculiarly Hellenic sentiment, which may be compared with 
the language of those modern writers who speak of virtue as 
fitness, and of freedom as obedience to law. The mathematical 
or logical notion of limit easily passes into an ethical one, and 
even finds a mythological expression in the conception of envy 
(<j)66vos). Ideas of measure, equality, order, unity, proportion, still 
linger in the writings of moralists ; and the true spirit of the fine 
arts is better conveyed by such terms than by superlatives. 

'When workmen strive to do better than well, 
They do confound their skill in covetousness.' 

(King John, Act iv. Sc. 2.) 

The harmony of the soul and body (iii. 402 D), and of the parts of the 
soul with one another (iv. 442 C), a harmony ' fairer than that of 
musical notes,' is the true Hellenic mode of conceiving the per- 
fection of human nature. 

In what may be called the. epilogue of the discussion with 
Thrasymachus, Plato argues that evil is not a principle of 
strength, but of discord and dissolution, just touching the question 
which has been often treated in modern times by theologians 
and philosophers, of the negative nature of evil (cp. on the other 
hand x. 610). In the last argument we trace the germ of the 

Analysis 357-359. xxv 

Aristotelian doctrine of an end and a virtue directed towards the Republic 
end, which again is suggested by the arts. The final recon- INTRODUC 
cilement of justice and happiness and the identity of the individual TION - 
and the State are also intimated. Socrates reassumes the character 
of a ' know-nothing ; ' at the same time he' appears to be not 
wholly satisfied with the manner in which the argument has 
been conducted. Nothing- is concluded ; but the tendency of the 
dialectical process, here as always, is to enlarge our conception of 
ideas, and to widen their application to human life. 

Steph. BOOK II. Thrasymachus is pacified, but the intrepid Glaucon ANALYSIS. 

35? insists on continuing the argument. He is not satisfied with the 
indirect manner in which, at the end of the last book, Socrates 
had disposed of the question 'Whether the just or the unjust 
is the happier.' He begins by dividing goods into three classes : 
first, goods desirable in themselves ; secondly, goods desirable 
in themselves and for their results; thirdly, goods desirable for 
their results only. He then asks Socrates in which of the three 

358 classes he would place justice. In the second class, replies 
Socrates, among goods desirable for themselves and also for their 
results. 'Then the world in general are of another mind, for 
they say that justice belongs to the troublesome class of goods 
which are desirable for their results only. Socrates answers that 
this is the doctrine of Thrasymachus which he rejects. Glaucon 
thinks that Thrasymachus was too ready to listen to the voice 
of the charmer, and proposes to consider the nature of justice 
and injustice in themselves and apart from the results and rewards 
of them which the world is always dinning in his ears. He will 
first of all speak of the nature and origin of justice ; secondly, 
of the manner in which men view justice as a necessity and 
not a good; and thirdly, he will prove the reasonableness of 
this view. 

* To do injustice is said to be a good ; to suffer injustice an evil. 
As the evil is discovered by experience to be greater than the 

359 gdj tne sufferers, who cannot also be doers, make a compact 
that they will have neither, and this compact or mean is called 
justice, but is really the impossibility of doing injustice. No one 
would observe such a compact if he were not obliged. Let us 
suppose that the just and unjust have two rings, like that of Gyges 

xxvi Analysis 360-363. 

Republic in the well-known story, which make them invisible, and then 360 
' no difference will appear in them, for every one will do evil if 
he can. And he who abstains will be regarded by the world 
as a fool for his pains. Men may praise him in public out 
of fear for themselves, but they will laugh at him in their hearts. 
(Cp. Gorgias, 483 B.) 

1 And now let us frame an ideal of the just and unjust. Imagine 
the unjust man to be master of his craft, seldom making mistakes 
and easily correcting them ; having gifts of money, speech, 361 
strength the greatest villain bearing the highest character : and 
at his side let us place the just in his nobleness and simplicity 
being, not seeming without name or reward clothed in his 
justice only the best of men who is thought to be the worst, 
and let him die as he has lived. I might add (but I would rather 
put the rest into the mouth of the panegyrists of injustice they 
will tell you) that the just man will be scourged, racked, bound, 
will have his eyes put out, and will at last be crucified [literally 
impaled} and all this because he ought to have preferred seeming 
to being. How different is the case of the unjust who clings 362 
to appearance as the true reality ! His high character makes him 
a ruler ; he can marry where he likes, trade where he likes, help 
his friends and hurt his enemies ; having got rich by dishonesty 
he can worship the gods better, and will therefore be more loved 
by them than the just.' 

I was thinking what to answer, when Adeimantus joined in the 
already unequal fray. He considered that the most important 
point of all had been omitted : ' Men are taught to be just for 
the sake of rewards ; parents and guardians make reputation the 363 
incentive to virtue. And other advantages are promised by them 
of a more solid kind, such as wealthy marriages and high offices. 
There are the pictures in Homer and Hesiod of fat sheep and 
heavy fleeces, rich corn-fields and trees toppling with fruit, which 
the gods provide in this life for the just. And the Orphic poets 
add a similar picture of another. The heroes of Musaeus and 
Eumolpus lie on couches at a festival, with garlands on their 
heads, enjoying as the meed of virtue a paradise of immortal 
drunkenness. Some go further, and speak of a fair posterity in the 
third and fourth generation. But the wicked they bury in a slough 
and make them carry water in a sieve : and in this life they 

Analysis 364-366. xxvii 

attribute to them the infamy which Glaucon was assuming to be Republic 
the lot of the just who are supposed to be unjust. ANALYSIS 

364 ' Take another kind of argument which is found both in poetry 
and prose : " Virtue," as Hesiod says, " is honourable but difficult, 
vice is easy and profitable." You may often see the wicked in 
great prosperity and the righteous afflicted by the will of heaven. 
And mendicant prophets knock at rich men's doors, promising to 
atone for the sins of themselves or their fathers in an easy fashion 
with sacrifices and festive games, or with charms and invocations 
to get rid of an enemy good or bad by divine help and at a small 
charge ; they appeal to books professing to be written by 
Musaeus and Orpheus, and carry away the minds of whole 
cities, and promise to " get souls out of purgatory ; " and if we 

365 refuse to listen to them, no one knows what will happen to us. 

'When a lively-minded ingenuous youth hears all this, what 
will be his conclusion ? " Will he," in the language of Pindar, 
" make justice his high tower, or fortify himself with crooked 
deceit?" Justice, he reflects, without the appearance of justice, 
is misery and ruin ; injustice has the promise of a glorious life. 
Appearance is master of truth and lord of happiness. To appear- 
ance then I will turn, I will put on the show of virtue and trail 
behind me the fox of Archilochus. I hear some one saying that 
" wickedness is not easily concealed," to which I reply that " nothing 
great is easy." Union and force and rhetoric will do much ; and 
if men say that they cannot prevail over the gods, still how do 
we know that there are gods ? Only from the poets, who acknow- 

366 ledge that they may be appeased by sacrifices. Then why not 
sin and pay for indulgences out of your sin ? For if the righteous 
are only unpunished, still they have no further reward, while 
the wicked may be unpunished and have the pleasure of sinning 
too. But what of the world below? Nay, says the argument, 
there are atoning powers who will set that matter right, as the 
poets, who are the sons of the gods, tell us ; and this is confirmed 
by the authority of the State. 

' How can we resist such arguments in favour of injustice ? Add 
good manners, and, as the wise tell us, we shall make the best of 
both worlds. Who that is not a miserable caitiff will refrain from 
smiling at the praises of justice ? Even if a man knows the better 
part he will not be angry with others ; for he knows also that 


xxviii False bases of morality. 

Reptiblic more than human virtue is needed to save a man, and that he only 

ANALYSIS P ra i ses justice who is incapable of injustice. 

'The origin of the evil is that all men from the beginning, 
heroes, poets, instructors of youth, have always asserted " the 
temporal dispensation," the honours and profits of justice. Had 
we been taught in early youth the power of justice and injustice 367 
inherent in the soul, and unseen by any human or divine eye, we 
should not have needed others to be our guardians, but every one 
would have been the guardian of himself. This is what I want 
you to show, Socrates \ other men use arguments which rather 
tend to strengthen the position of Thrasymachus that " might is 
right;" but from you I expect better things. And please, as 
Glaucon said, to exclude reputation ; let the just be thought 
unjust and the unjust just, and do you still prove to us the 
superiority of justice.' . . . 

INTRODUC- The thesis, which for the sake of argument has been maintained 
by Glaucon, is the converse of that of Thrasymachus not right is 
the interest of the stronger, but right is the necessity of the 
weaker. Starting from the same premises he carries the analysis 
of society a step further back ; might is still right, but the might 
is the weakness of the many combined against the strength of the 

There have been theories in modern as well as in ancient times 
which have a family likeness to the speculations of Glaucon ; e. g. 
that power is the foundation of right ; or that a monarch has a 
divine right to govern well or ill ; or that virtue is self-love or the 
love of power ; or that war is the natural state of man ; or that 
private vices are public benefits. All such theories have a kind of 
plausibility from their partial agreement with experience. For 
human nature oscillates between good and evil, and the motives of 
actions and the origin of institutions may be explained to a certain 
extent on either hypothesis according to the character or point of 
view of a particular thinker. The obligation of maintaining 
authority under all circumstances and sometimes by rather 
questionable means is felt strongly and has become a sort of 
instinct among civilized men. The divine right of kings, or more 
generally of governments, is one of the forms under which this 
natural feeling is expressed. Nor again is there any evil which 
has not some accompaniment of good or pleasure ; nor any good 

Justice and happiness. xxix 

which is free from some alloy of evil ; nor any noble or generous Republic 
thought which may not be attended by a shadow or the ghost of a INTROI)L . C 
shadow of self-interest or of self-love. We know that all human TION - 
actions are imperfect ; but we do not therefore attribute them to 
the worse rather than to the better motive or principle. Such a 
philosophy is both foolish and false, like that opinion of the clever 
rogue who assumes all other men to be like himself (iii. 409 C). 
And theories of this sort do not represent the real nature of the 
State, which is based on a vague sense of right gradually cor- 
rected and enlarged by custom and law (although capable also 
of perversion), any more than they describe the origin of society, 
which is to be sought in the family and in the social and religious 
feelings of man. Nor do they represent the average character of 
individuals, which cannot be explained simply on a theory of evil, 
but has always a counteracting element of good. And as men 
become better such theories appear more and more untruthful to 
them, because they are more conscious of their own disinterested- 
ness. A little experience may make a man a cynic ; a great deal 
will bring him back to a truer and kindlier view of the mixed 
nature of himself and his fellow men. 

The two brothers ask Socrates to prove to them that the just is 
happy when they have taken from him all that in which happiness 
is ordinarily supposed to consist. Not that there is (i) any 
absurdity in the attempt to frame a notion of justice apart from 
circumstances. For the ideal must always be a paradox when 
compared with the ordinary conditions of human life. Neither 
the Stoical ideal nor the Christian ideal is true as a fact, but they 
may serve as a basis of education, and may exercise an ennobling 
influence. An ideal is none the worse because. ' some one has 
made the discovery ' that no such ideal was ever realized. (Cp. v. 
472 D.) And in a few exceptional individuals ' who are raised 
above the ordinary level of humanity, the ideal of happiness may 
be realized in death and misery. This may be the state which 
the reason deliberately approves, and which the utilitarian as 
well as every other moralist may be bound in certain cases to 

Nor again, (2) must we forget that Plato, though he agrees 
generally with the view implied in the argument of the two 
brothers, is not expressing his own final conclusion, but rather 

xxx Justice and the appearance of justice. 

Republic seeking to dramatize one of the aspects of ethical truth. He is 

developing his idea gradually in a series of positions or situations. 

He is exhibiting Socrates for the first time undergoing the 
Socratic interrogation. Lastly, (3) the word ' happiness ' involves 
some degree of confusion because associated in the language of 
modern philosophy with conscious pleasure or satisfaction, which 
was not equally present to his mind. 

Glaucon has been drawing a picture of the misery of the just 
and the happiness of the unjust, to which the misery of the tyrant 
in Book IX is the answer and parallel. And still the unjust must 
appear just ; that is * the homage which vice pays to virtue.' But 
now Adeimantus, taking up the hint which had been already given 
by Glaucon (ii. 358 C), proceeds to show that in the opinion of 
mankind justice is regarded only for the sake of rewards and 
reputation, and points out the advantage which is given to such 
arguments as those of Thrasymachus and Glaucon by the conven- 
tional morality of mankind. He seems to feel the difficulty of 
'justifying the ways of God to man.' Both the brothers touch 
upon the question, whether the morality of actions is determined 
by their consequences (cp. iv. 420 foil.) ; and both of them go 
beyond the position of Socrates, that justice belongs to the class of 
goods not desirable for themselves only, but desirable for them- 
selves and for their results, to which he recalls them. In their 
attempt to view justice as an internal principle, and in their 
condemnation of the poets, they anticipate him. The common life 
of Greece is not enough for them ; they must penetrate deeper into 
the nature of things. 

It has been objected that justice is honesty in the sense of 
Glaucon and Adeimantus, but is taken by Socrates to mean all 
virtue. May we not more truly say that the old-fashioned notion 
of justice is enlarged by Socrates, and becomes equivalent to 
universal order or well-being, first in the State, and secondly 
in the individual ? He has found a new answer to his old ques- 
tion (Protag. 329), 'whether the virtues are one or many,' viz. that 
one is the ordering principle of the three others. In seeking 
to establish the purely internal nature of justice, he is met by 
the fact that man is a social being, and he tries to harmonise 
the two opposite theses as well as he can. There is no more 
inconsistency in this than was inevitable in his age and country ; 

Justice in the state. xxxi 

there is no use in turning upon him the cross lights of modern Republic 
philosophy, which, from some other point of view, would appear 
equally inconsistent. Plato does not give the final solution of 
philosophical questions for us ; nor can he be judged of by our 

The remainder of the Republic is developed out of the question 
of the sons of Ariston. Three points are deserving of remark 
in what immediately follows : First, that the answer of Socrates 
is altogether indirect. He does not say that happiness consists in 
the contemplation of the idea of justice, and still less will he 
be tempted to affirm the Stoical paradox that the just man can be 
happy on the rack. But first he dwells on the difficulty of the 
problem and insists on restoring man to his natural condition, 
before he will answer the question at all. He too will frame 
an ideal, but his ideal comprehends not only abstract justice, 
but the whole relations of man. Under the fanciful illustration of 
the large letters he implies that he will only look for justice in 
society, and that from the State he will proceed to the individual. 
His answer in substance amounts to this, that under favourable 
conditions, i.e. in the perfect State, justice and happiness will 
coincide, and that when justice has been once found, happiness 
may be left to take care of itself. That he falls into some degree 
of inconsistency, when in the tenth book (612 A) he claims to have 
got rid of the rewards and honours of justice, may be admitted ; 
for he has left those which exist in the perfect State. And 
the philosopher ' who retires under the shelter of a wall ' (vi. 496) 
can hardly have been esteemed happy by him, at least not in this 
world. Still he maintains the true attitude of moral action. 
Let a man do his duty first, without asking whether he will be 
happy or not, and happiness will be the inseparable accident 
which attends him. ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' 

Secondly, it may be remarked that Plato preserves the genuine 
character of Greek thought in beginning with the State and 
in going on to the individual. First ethics, then politics this is 
the order of ideas to us ; the reverse is the order of history. Only 
after many struggles of thought does the individual assert his 
right as a moral being. In early ages he is not one, but one 
of many, the citizen of a State which is prior to him ; and he 


Collective and individual action. 



has no notion of good or evil apart from the law of his country or 
tne creed f ms church. And to this type he is constantly tending 
to revert, whenever the influence of custom, or of party spirit, or 
the recollection of the past becomes too strong for him. 

Thirdly, we may observe the confusion or identification of the 
individual and the State, of ethics and politics, which pervades 
early Greek speculation, and even in modern times retains a 
certain degree of influence. The subtle difference between the 
collective and individual action of mankind seems to have escaped 
early thinkers, and we too are sometimes in danger of for- 
getting the conditions of united human action, whenever we either 
elevate politics into ethics, or lower ethics to the standard of politics. 
The good man and the good citizen only coincide in the perfect 
State ; and this perfection cannot be attained by legislation acting 
upon them from without, but, if at all, by education fashioning 
them from within. 

. . . Socrates praises the sons of Ariston, ' inspired offspring of 368 
the renowned hero,' as the elegiac poet terms them ; but he does 
not understand how they can argue so eloquently on behalf of 
injustice while their character shows that they are uninfluenced 
by their own arguments. He knows not how to answer them, 
although he is afraid of deserting justice in the hour of need. 
He therefore makes a condition, that having weak eyes he shall 
be allowed to read the large letters first and then go on to 
the smaller, that is, he must look for justice in the State first, 
and will then proceed to the individual. Accordingly he begins 369 
to construct the State. 

Society arises out of the wants of man. His first want is food ; 
his second a house ; his third a coat. The sense of these needs 
and the possibility of satisfying them by exchange, draw in- 
dividuals together on the same spot; and this is the beginning 
of a State, which we take the liberty to invent, although neces- 
sity is the real inventor. There must be first a husbandman, 
secondly a builder, thirdly a weaver, to which may be added 
a cobbler. Four or five citizens at least are required to make 
a city. Now men have different natures, and one man will do one 370 
thing better than many ; and business waits for no man. Hence 
there must be a division of labour into different employments ; into 
wholesale and retail trade ; into workers, and makers of workmen's 

Analysis 370-375. xxxiii 

tools ; into shepherds and husbandmen. A city which includes all Republic 
this will have far exceeded the limit of four or five, and yet not be ANAL y SIS 

371 very large. But then again imports will be required, and im- 
ports necessitate exports, and this implies variety of produce in 
order to attract the taste of purchasers; also merchants and 
ships. In the city too we must have a market and money and 
retail trades ; otherwise buyers and sellers will never meet, and 
the valuable time of the producers will be wasted in vain efforts 
at exchange. If we add hired servants the State will be com- 
plete. And we may guess that somewhere in the intercourse of 

372 the citizens with one another justice and injustice will appear. 

Here follows a rustic picture of their way of life. They spend 
their days in houses which they have built for themselves ; they 
make their own clothes and produce their own corn and wine. 
Their principal food is meal and flour, and they drink in 
moderation. They live on the best of terms with each other, and 
take care not to have too many children. ' But,' said Glaucon, 
interposing, ' are they not to have a relish ? ' Certainly ; they 
will have salt and olives and cheese, vegetables and fruits, 
and chestnuts to roast at the fire. ' 'Tis a city of pigs, Socrates.' 
Why, I replied, what do you want more ? ' Only the comforts of 
life, sofas and tables, also sauces and sweets.' I see ; you want 
not only a State, but a luxurious State ; and possibly in the more 
complex frame we may sooner find justice and injustice. Then 

373 the fine arts must go to work every conceivable instrument and 
ornament of luxury will be wanted. There will be dancers, 
painters, sculptors, musicians, cooks, barbers, tire-women, nurses, 
artists ; swineherds and neatherds too for the animals, and 
physicians to cure the disorders of which luxury is the source. To 
feed all these superfluous mouths we shall need a part of our 
neighbours' land, and they will want a part of ours. And this 
is the origin of war, which may be traced to the same causes 

374 as other political evils. Our city will now require the slight 
addition of a camp, and the citizen will be converted into a soldier. 
But then again our old doctrine of the division of labour must not 
be forgotten. The art of war cannot be learned in a day, and 
there must be a natural aptitude for military duties. There will 

375 be some warlike natures who have this aptitude dogs keen of 
scent, swift of foot to pursue, and strong of limb to fight. And 


xxxiv Analysis 375-379. 

Republic as spirit is the foundation of courage, such natures, whether of 
men or animals, will be full of spirit. But these spirited natures 


are apt to bite and devour one another ; the union of gentleness to 
friends and fierceness against enemies appears to be an im- 
possibility, and the guardian of a State requires both qualities. 
Who then can be a guardian ? The image of the dog suggests 
an answer. For dogs are gentle to friends and fierce to strangers. 376 
Your dog is a philosopher who judges by the rule of knowing 
or not knowing; and philosophy, whether in man or beast, is 
the parent of gentleness. The human watchdogs must be philo- 
sophers or lovers of learning which will make them gentle. And 
how are they to be learned without education ? 

But what shall their education be ? Is any better than the old- 
fashioned sort which is comprehended under the name of music 
and gymnastic ? Music includes literature, and literature is of two 377 
kinds, true and false. 'What do you mean?' he said. I mean 
that children hear stories before they learn gymnastics, and that 
the stories are either untrue, or have at most one or two grains 
of truth in a bushel of falsehood. Now early life is very im- 
pressible, and children ought not to learn what they will have 
to unlearn when they grow up ; we must therefore have a censor- 
ship of nursery tales, banishing some and keeping others. Some 
of them are very improper, as we may see in the great instances 
of Homer and Hesiod, who not only tell lies but bad lies ; stories 
about Uranus and Saturn, which are immoral as well as false, 378 
and which should never be spoken of to young persons, or 
indeed at all ; or, if at all, then in a mystery, after the sacrifice, 
not of an Eleusinian pig, but of some unprocurable animal. Shall 
our youth be encouraged to beat their fathers by the example 
of Zeus, or our citizens be incited to quarrel by hearing or seeing 
representations of strife among the gods? Shall they listen to 
the narrative of Hephaestus binding his mother, and of Zeus 
sending him flying for helping her when she was beaten ? Such 
tales may possibly have a mystical interpretation, but the young 
are incapable of understanding allegory. If any one asks what 
tales are to be allowed, we will answer that we are legislators and 379 
not book-makers; we only lay down the principles according 
to which books are to be written ; to write them is the duty of 

Analysis 379-383- 


And our first principle is, that God must be represented as he Republic 
is ; not as the author of all things, but of good only. We will A 
not suffer the poets to say that he is the steward of good and 
evil, or that he has two casks full of destinies ; or that Athene 
and Zeus incited Pandarus to break the treaty; or that God 

380 caused the sufferings of Niobe, or of Pelops, or the Trojan war ; 
or that he makes men sin when he wishes to destroy them. 
Either these were not the actions of the gods, or God was just, 
and men were the better for being punished. But that the deed 
was evil, and God the author, is a wicked, suicidal fiction which 
we will allow no one, old or young, to utter. This is our first 
and great principle God is the author of good only. 

And the second principle is like unto it : With God is no vari- 
ableness or change of form. Reason teaches us this ; for if we 
suppose a change in God, he must be changed either by another 
or by himself. By another ? but the best works of nature and 

381 art and the noblest qualities of mind are least liable to be changed 
by any external force. By himself? but he cannot change for the 
better ; he will hardly change for the worse. He remains for 
ever fairest and best in his own image. Therefore we refuse to 
listen to the poets who tell us of Here begging in the likeness of 
a priestess or of other deities who prowl about at night in 
strange disguises; all that blasphemous nonsense with which 
mothers fool the manhood out of their children must be sup- 

382 pressed. But some one will say that God, who is himself un- 
changeable, may take a form in relation to us. Why should he ? 
For gods as well as men hate the lie in the soul, or principle 
of falsehood ; and as for any other form of lying which is used 
for a purpose and is regarded as innocent in certain exceptional 
cases what need have the gods of this ? For they are not 
ignorant of antiquity like the poets, nor are they afraid of their 

383 enemies, nor is any madman a friend of theirs. God then is 
true, he is absolutely true; he changes not, he deceives not, 
by day or night, by word or sign. This is our second great 
principle God is true. Away with the lying dream of Aga- 
memnon in Homer, and the accusation of Thetis against Apollo 
in Aeschylus. . . . 

In order to give clearness to his conception of the State, Plato INTRODUC- 


proceeds to trace the first principles of mutual need and of 


xxxvi Political Economy in Plato. 

Republic division of labour in an imaginary community of four or five 


citizens. Gradually this community increases ; the division of 

labour extends to countries ; imports necessitate exports ; a 
medium of exchange is required, and retailers sit in the market- 
place to save the time of the producers. These are the steps 
by which Plato constructs the first or primitive State, introducing 
the elements of political economy by the way. As he is going 
to frame a second or civilized State, the simple naturally comes 
before the complex. He indulges, like Rousseau, in a picture of 
primitive life an idea which has indeed often had a powerful in- 
fluence on the imagination of mankind, but he does not seriously 
mean to say that one is better than the other (cp. Politicus, 
p. 272) ; nor can any inference be drawn from the description 
of the first state taken apart from the second, such as Aristotle 
appears to draw in the Politics, iv. 4, 12 (cp. again Politicus, 272). 
We should not interpret a Platonic dialogue any more than a 
poem or a parable in too literal or matter-of-fact a style. On 
the other hand, when we compare the lively fancy of Plato with 
the dried-up abstractions of modern treatises on philosophy, we 
are compelled to say with Protagoras, that the ' mythus is more 
interesting ' (Protag. 320 D). 

Several interesting remarks which in modern times would have 
a place in a treatise on Political Economy are scattered up and 
down the writings of Plato : cp. especially Laws, v. 740, Population ; 
viii. 847, Free Trade ; xi. 916-7, Adulteration ; 923-4,. Wills and 
Bequests ; 930, Begging ; Eryxias, (though not Plato's), Value and 
Demand ; Republic, ii. 369 ff., Division of Labour. The last subject, 
and also the origin of Retail Trade, is treated with admirable 
lucidity in the second book of the Republic. But Plato never com- 
bined his economic ideas into a system, and never seems to have 
recognized that Trade is one of the great motive powers of the 
State and of the world. He would make retail traders only of the 
inferior sort of citizens (Rep. ii. 371 ; cp. Laws, viii. 847), though he 
remarks, quaintly enough (Laws, ix. 918 D), that ' if only the best 
men and the best women everywhere were compelled to keep 
taverns for a time or to carry on retail trade, etc., then we should 
know how pleasant and agreeable all these things are.' 

The disappointment of Glaucon at the ' city of pigs,' the ludi- 
crous description of the ministers of luxury in the more refined 

Use of fiction. xxxvii 

State, and the afterthought of the necessity of doctors, the illus- Republic 
tration of the nature of the guardian taken from the dog, the lNTRO p UC 
desirableness of offering some almost unprocurable victim when TION - 
impure mysteries are to be celebrated, the behaviour of Zeus 
to his father and of Hephaestus to his mother, are touches of 
humour which have also a serious meaning. In speaking of 
education Plato rather startles us by affirming that a child must 
be trained in falsehood first and in truth afterwards. Yet this 
is not very different from saying that children must be taught 
through the medium of imagination as well as reason ; that their 
minds can only develope gradually, and that there is much which 
they must learn without understanding (cp. iii. 402 A). This is 
also the substance of Plato's view, though he must be acknow- 
ledged to have drawn the line somewhat differently from modern 
ethical writers, respecting truth and falsehood. To us, economies 
or accommodations would not be allowable unless they were 
required by the human faculties or necessary for the communi- 
cation of knowledge to the simple and ignorant. We should 
insist that the word was inseparable from the intention, and that 
we must not be ' falsely true,' i. e. speak or act falsely in support 
of what was right or true. But Plato would limit the use of 
fictions only by requiring that they should have a good moral 
effect, and that such a dangerous weapon as falsehood should be 
employed by the rulers alone and for great objects. 

A Greek in the age of Plato attached no importance to the 
question whether his religion was an historical fact. He was 
just beginning to be conscious that the past had a history; but 
he could see nothing beyond Homer and Hesiod. Whether their 
narratives were true or false did not seriously affect the political 
or social life of Hellas. Men only began to suspect that they 
were fictions when they recognised them to be immoral. And 
so in all religions : the consideration of their morality comes first, 
afterwards the truth of the documents in which they are re- 
corded, or of the events natural or supernatural which are told 
of them. But in modern times, and in Protestant countries per- 
haps more than in Catholic, we have been too much inclined to 
identify the historical with the moral ; and some have refused 
to believe in religion at all, unless a superhuman accuracy was 
discernible jn every part of the record. The facts of an ancient 

xxxviii Myth and allegory. 

Republic or religious history are amongst the most important of all facts ; 
J but they are frequently uncertain, and we only learn the true 

lesson which is to be gathered from them when we place our- 
selves above them. These reflections tend to show that the 
difference between Plato and ourselves, though not unimportant, 
is not so great as might at first sight appear. For we should 
agree with him in placing the moral before the historical truth 
of religion ; and, generally, in disregarding those errors or mis- 
statements of fact which necessarily occur in the early stages of 
all religions. We know also that changes in the traditions of a 
country cannot be made in a day ; and are therefore tolerant of 
many things which science and criticism would condemn. 

We note in passing that the allegorical interpretation of mytho- 
logy, said to have been first introduced as early as the sixth 
century before Christ by Theagenes of Rhegium, was well estab- 
lished in the age of Plato, and here, as in the Phaedrus (229-30), 
though for a different reason, was rejected by him. That ana- 
chronisms whether of religion or law, when men have reached 
another stage of civilization, should be got rid of by fictions is in 
accordance with universal experience. Great is the art of inter- 
pretation ; and by a natural process, which when once discovered 
was always going on, what could not be altered was explained 
away. And so without any palpable inconsistency there existed 
side by side two forms of religion, the tradition inherited or 
invented by the poets and the customary worship of the temple ; 
on the other hand, there was the religion of the philosopher, who 
was dwelling in the heaven of ideas, but did not therefore refuse 
to offer a cock to ^Esculapius, or to be seen saying his prayers 
at the rising of the sun. At length the antagonism between the 
popular and philosophical religion, never so great among the 
Greeks as in our own age, disappeared, and was only felt like the 
difference between the religion of the educated and uneducated 
among ourselves. The Zeus of Homer and Hesiod easily passed 
into the * royal mind ' of Plato (Philebus, 28) ; the giant Heracles 
became the knight-errant and benefactor of mankind. These and 
still more wonderful transformations were readily effected by the 
ingenuity of Stoics and neo-Platonists in the two or three centuries 
before and after Christ. The Greek and Roman religions were 
gradually permeated by the spirit of philosophy ; having lost their 

The lie in the soul. xxxix 

ancient meaning, they were resolved into poetry and morality ; Republic 
and probably were never purer than at the time of their decay, J 
when their influence over the world was waning. TI N. 

A singular conception which occurs towards the end of the 
book is the lie in the soul ; this is connected with the Platonic 
and Socratic doctrine that involuntary ignorance is worse than 
voluntary. The lie in the soul is a true lie, the corruption 
of the highest truth, the deception of the highest part of the 
soul, from which he who is deceived has no power of delivering 
himself. For example, to represent God as false or immoral, or, 
according to Plato, as deluding men with appearances or as the 
author of evil ; or again, to affirm with Protagoras that ' know- 
ledge is sensation,' or that ' being is becoming,' or with Thrasy- 
machus ' that might is right,' would have been regarded by Plato 
as a lie of this hateful sort. The greatest unconsciousness of the 
greatest untruth, e. g. if, in the language of the Gospels (John iv. 
41), * he who was blind ' were to say ' I see,' is another aspect of the 
state of mind which Plato is describing. The lie in the soul may 
be further compared with the sin against the Holy Ghost (Luke 
xii. 10), allowing for the difference between Greek and Christian 
modes of speaking. To this is opposed the lie in words, which 
is only such a deception as may occur in a play or poem, or 
allegory or figure of speech, or in any sort of accommodation, 
which though useless to the gods may be useful to men in certain 
cases. Socrates is here answering the question which he had 
himself raised (i. 331 C) about the propriety of deceiving a mad- 
man ; and he is also contrasting the nature of God and man. For 
God is Truth, but mankind can only be true by appearing some- 
times to be partial, or false. Reserving for another place the 
greater questions of religion or education, we may note further, 
(i) the approval of the old traditional education of Greece ; (2) the 
preparation which Plato is making for the attack on Homer and 
the poets ; (3) the preparation which he is also making for the use 
of economies in the State ; (4) the contemptuous and at the 
same time euphemistic manner in which here as below (iii. 390) 
he alludes to the Chronique Scandaleuse of the gods. 

steph. BOOK III. There is another motive in purifying religion, ANALYSIS. 
which is to banish fear; for no man can be courageous who is 

xl Analysis 386-389. 

Republic afraid of death, or who believes the tales which are repeated by 
ANALYSIS the P oets concerning the world below. They must be gently 
requested not to abuse hell; they may be reminded that their 
stories are both untrue and discouraging. Nor must they be 
angry if we expunge obnoxious passages, such as the depressing 
words of Achilles 'I would rather be a serving- man than rule 
over all the dead ; ' and the verses which tell of the squalid 
mansions, the senseless shadows, the flitting soul mourning over 
lost strength and youth, the soul with a gibber going beneath the 387 
earth like smoke, or the souls of the suitors which flutter about like 
bats. The terrors and horrors of Cocytus and Styx, ghosts and 
sapless shades, and the rest of their Tartarean nomenclature, must 
vanish. Such tales may have their use ; but they are not the 
proper food for soldiers. As little can we admit the sorrows and 
sympathies of the Homeric heroes : Achilles, the son of Thetis, 
in tears, throwing ashes on his head, or pacing up and down the 
sea -shore in distraction ; or Priam, the cousin of the gods, crying 
aloud, rolling in the mire. A good man is not prostrated at the 
Joss of children or fortune. Neither is death terrible to him ; and 
therefore lamentations over the dead should not be practised by 
men of note ; they should be the concern of inferior persons only, 388 
whether women or men. Still worse is the attribution of such 
weakness to the gods ; as when the goddesses say, ' Alas ! my 
travail ! ' and worst of all, when the king of heaven himself 
laments his inability to save Hector, or sorrows over the im- 
pending doom of his dear Sarpedon. Such a character of God, if 
not ridiculed by our young men, is likely to be imitated by them. 
Nor should our citizens be given to excess of laughter 'Such 
violent delights ' are followed by a violent re-action. The descrip- 389 
tion in the Iliad of the gods shaking their sides at the clumsiness 
of Hephaestus will not be ad.mitted by us. ' Certainly not.' 

Truth should have a high place among the virtues, for falsehood, 
as we were saying, is useless to the gods, and only useful to men 
as a medicine. But this employment of falsehood must remain a 
privilege of state ; the common man must not in return tell a lie to 
the ruler; any more than the patient would tell a lie to his 
physician, or the sailor to his captain. 

In the next place our youth must be temperate, and temperance 
consists in self-control and obedience to authority. That is a 

Analysis 389-392. xli 

lesson which Homer teaches in some places: 'The Achaeans Republic 
marched on breathing prowess, in silent awe of their leaders ; ' 


but a very different one in other places : ' O heavy with wine, who 

390 hast the eyes of a dog, but the heart of a stag.' Language of the 
A latter kind will not impress self-control on the minds of youth* 

The same may be said about his praises of eating and drinking 
and his dread of starvation ; also about the verses in which he tells 
of the rapturous loves of Zeus and Here, or of how Hephaestus 
once detained Ares and Aphrodite in a net on a similar occasion. 
There is a nobler strain heard in the words : ' Endure, my soul, 
thou hast endured worse.' Nor must we allow our citizens to 
receive bribes, or to say, ' Gifts persuade the gods, gifts reverend 
kings ; ' or to applaud the ignoble advice of Phoenix to Achilles 
that he should get money out of the Greeks before he assisted 
them ; or the meanness of Achilles himself in taking gifts from 

391 Agamemnon ; or his requiring a ransom for the body of Hector; 
or his cursing of Apollo ; or his insolence to the river-god 
Scamander ; or his dedication to the dead Patroclus of his own 
hair which had been already dedicated to the other river-god 
Spercheius ; or his cruelty in dragging the body of Hector round 
the walls, and slaying the captives at the pyre : such a combina- 
tion of meanness and cruelty in Cheiron's pupil is inconceivable. 
The amatory exploits of Peirithous and Theseus are equally 
unworthy. Either these so-called sons of gods were not the sons 
of gods, or they were not such as the poets imagine them, any 
more than the gods themselves are the authors of evil. The youth 
who believes that such things are done by those who have the 

392 blood of heaven flowing in their veins will be too ready to 
imitate their example. 

Enough of gods and heroes ; what shall we say about men ? 
What the poets and story-tellers say that the wicked prosper 
and the righteous are afflicted, or that justice is another's gain ? 
Such misrepresentations cannot be allowed by us. But in this 
we are anticipating the definition of justice, and had therefore 
better defer the enquiry. 

The subjects of poetry have been sufficiently treated; next 
follows style. Now all poetry is a narrative of events past, 
present, or to come ; and narrative is of three kinds, the simple, 
the imitative, and a composition of the two. An instance will 

xlii Analysis 393-398. 

Republic make my meaning clear. The first scene in Homer is of the last 393 
' or mixed kind, being partly description and partly dialogue. But 
if you throw the dialogue into the ' oratio obliqua,' the passage 
will run thus : The priest came and prayed Apollo that the 394 
Achaeans might take Troy and have a safe return if Agamemnon 
would only give him back his daughter; and the other Greeks 
assented, but Agamemnon was wroth, and so on The whole then 
becomes descriptive, and the poet is the only speaker left ; or, if 
you omit the narrative, the whole becomes dialogue. These are 
the three styles which of them is to be admitted into our State ? 
* Do you ask whether tragedy and comedy are to be admitted ? ' 
Yes, but also something more Is it not doubtful whether our 
guardians are to be imitators at all ? Or rather, has not the ques- 
tion been already answered, for we have decided that one man 
cannot in his life play many parts, any more than he can act both 395 
tragedy and comedy, or be rhapsodist and actor at once ? Human 
nature is coined into very small pieces, and as our guardians have 
their own business already, which is the care of freedom, they will 
have enough to do without imitating. If they imitate they should 
imitate, not any meanness or baseness, but the good only; for 
the mask which the actor wears is apt to become his face. 
We cannot allow men to play the parts of women, quarrelling, 
weeping, scolding, or boasting against the gods, least of all when 
making love or in labour. They must not represent slaves, or 
bullies, or cowards, or drunkards, or madmen, or blacksmiths, or 396 
neighing horses, or bellowing bulls, or sounding rivers, or a 
raging sea. A good or wise man will be willing to perform good 
and wise actions, but he will be ashamed to play an inferior part 
which he has never practised ; and he will prefer to employ the 
descriptive style with as little imitation as possible. The man 397 
who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and 
anything ; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike ; his whole 
performance will be imitation of gesture and voice. Now in the 
descriptive style there are few changes, but in the dramatic there 
are a great many. Poets and musicians use either, or a compound 
of both, and this compound is very attractive to youth and their 
teachers as well as to the vulgar. But our State in which one man 
plays one part only is not adapted for complexity. And when 398 
one of these polyphonous pantomimic gentlemen offers to exhibit 

Analysis 398-401. xliii 

himself and his poetry we will show him every observance of Republic 
respect, but at the same time tell him that there is no room for his IH ' 


kind in our State ; we prefer the rough, honest poet, and will not 
depart from our original models (ii. 379 foil. ; cp. Laws, vii. 817). 

Next as to the music. A song or ode has three parts, the 
subject, the harmony, and the rhythm ; of which the two last are 
dependent upon the first. As we banished strains of lamentation, 
so we may now banish the mixed Lydian harmonies, which are 
the harmonies of lamentation ; and as our citizens are to be 
temperate, we may also banish convivial harmonies, such as the 

399 Ionian and pure Lydian. Two remain the Dorian and Phrygian, 
the first for war, the second for peace ; the one expressive of 
courage, the other of obedience or instruction or religious feeling. 
And as we reject varieties of harmony, we shall also reject the 
many-stringed, variously-shaped instruments which give utterance 
to them, and in particular the flute, which is more complex than 
any of them. The lyre and the harp may be permitted in the 
town, and the Pan's-pipe in the fields. Thus we have made a 
purgation of music, and will now make a purgation of metres. 

400 These should be like the harmonies, simple and suitable to the 
occasion. There are four notes of the tetrachord, and there 
are three ratios of metre, f, f , f, which have all their charac- 
teristics, and the feet have different characteristics as well as the 
rhythms. But about this you and I must ask Damon, the great 
musician, who speaks, if I remember rightly, of a martial measure 
as well as of dactylic, trochaic, and iambic rhythms, which he 
arranges so as to equalize the syllables with one another, assigning 
to each the proper quantity. We only venture to affirm the 
general principle that the style is to conform to the subject and the 
metre to the style ; and that the simplicity and harmony of the 
soul should be reflected in them all. This principle of simplicity 
has to be learnt by every one in the days of his youth, and may 

401 be gathered anywhere, from the creative and constructive arts, as 
well as from the forms of plants and animals. 

Other artists as well as poets should be warned against mean- 
ness or unseemliness. Sculpture and painting equally with music 
must conform to the law of simplicity. He who violates it cannot 
be allowed to work in our city, and to corrupt the taste of our 
citizens. For our guardians must grow up, not amid images of 

xliv Analysis 401-405. 

Republic deformity which will gradually poison and corrupt their souls, 
ANALYSIS ^ ut m a ^ anc * ^ nea ^ tn an< ^ beauty where they will drink in from 
every object sweet and harmonious influences. And of all these 
influences the greatest is the education given by music, which 
finds a way into the innermost soul and imparts to it the sense of 402 
beauty and of deformity. At first the effect is unconscious ; but 
when reason arrives, then he who has been thus trained welcomes 
her as the friend whom he always knew. As in learning to read, 
first we acquire the elements or letters separately, and afterwards 
their combinations, and cannot recognize reflections of them until 
we know the letters themselves ; in like manner we must first 
attain the elements or essential forms of the virtues, and then 
trace their combinations in life and experience. There is a music 
of the soul which answers to the harmony of the world ; and the 
fairest object of a musical soul is the fair mind in the fair body. 
Some defect in the latter may be excused, but not in the formen 
True love is the daughter of temperance, and temperance is 403 
utterly opposed to the madness of bodily pleasure. Enough has 
been said of music, which makes a fair ending with love. 

Next we pass on to gymnastics ; about which I would remark, 
that the soul is related to the body as a cause to an effect, and 
therefore if we educate the mind we may leave the education of 
the body in her charge, and need only give a general outline 
of the course to be pursued. In the first place the guardians must 
abstain from strong drink, for they should be the last persons to 
lose their wits. Whether the habits of the palaestra are suitable 404 
to them is more doubtful, for the ordinary gymnastic is a sleepy 
sort of thing, and if left off suddenly is apt to endanger health. 
But our warrior athletes must be wide-awake dogs, and must 
also be inured to all changes of food and climate. Hence they 
will require a simpler kind of gymnastic, akin to their simple 
music ; and for their diet a rule may be found in Homer, who 
feeds his heroes on roast meat only, and gives them no fish 
although they are living at the sea-side, nor boiled meats which 
involve an apparatus of pots and pans ; and, if I am not mistaken, 
he nowhere mentions sweet sauces. Sicilian cookery and Attic 
confections and Corinthian courtezans, which are to gymnastic 
what Lydian and Ionian melodies are to music, must be forbidden. 
Where gluttony and intemperance prevail the town quickly fills 405 

Analysis 405-408. xlv 

with doctors and pleaders ; and law and medicine give themselves Republic 
airs as soon as the freemen of a State take an interest in them. 


But what can show a more disgraceful state of education than 
to have to go abroad for justice because you have none of your 
own at home ? And yet there is a worse stage of the same disease 
when men have learned to take a pleasure and pride in the twists 
and turns of the law ; not considering how much better it would 
be for them so to order their lives as to have no need of a nodding 
justice. And there is a like disgrace in employing a physician, 
not for the cure of wounds or epidemic disorders, but because 
a man has by laziness and luxury contracted diseases which were 
unknown in the days of Asclepius. How simple is the Homeric 
practice of medicine. Eurypylus after he has been wounded 

406 drinks a posset of Pramnian wine, which is of a heating nature ; 
and yet the sons of Asclepius blame neither the damsel who gives 
him the drink, nor Patroclus who is attending on him. The truth 
is that this modern system of nursing diseases was introduced 
by Herodicus the trainer; who, being of a sickly constitution, 
by a compound of training and medicine tortured first himself and 
then a good many other people, and lived a great deal longer 
than he had any right. But Asclepius would not practise this art, 
because he knew that the citizens of a well-ordered State have 
no leisure to be ill, and therefore he adopted the ' kill or cure ' 
method, which artisans and labourers employ. * They must be at 
their business,' they say, ' and have no time for coddling : if they 

407 recover, well ; if they don't, there is an end of them.' Whereas 
the rich man is supposed to be a gentleman who can afford to be 
ill. Do you know a maxim of Phocylides that 'when a man 
begins to be rich ' (or, perhaps, a little sooner) ' he should practise 
virtue ' ? But how can excessive care of health be inconsistent 
with an ordinary occupation, and yet consistent with that practice 
of virtue which Phocylides inculcates ? When a student imagines 
that philosophy gives him a headache, he never does anything ; 
he is always unwell. This was the reason why Asclepius and his 
sons practised no such art. They were acting in the interest of 
the public, and did not wish to preserve useless lives, or raise up 
a puny offspring to wretched sires. Honest diseases they honestly 

408 cured ; and if a man was wounded, they applied the proper 
remedies, and then let him eat and drink what he liked. But 

xlvi Analysis 408-411. 

Republic they declined to treat intemperate and worthless subjects, even 


7// * though they might have made large fortunes out of them. As to 

the story of Pindar, that Asclepius was slain by a thunderbolt for 
restoring a rich man to life, that is a lie following our old rule we 
must say either that he did not take bribes, or that he was not the 
son of a god. 

Glaucon then asks Socrates whether the best physicians and the 
best judges will not be those who have had severally the greatest 
experience of diseases and of crimes. Socrates draws a distinction 
between the two professions. The physician should have had 
experience of disease in his own body, for he cures with his mind 
and not with his body. But the judge controls mind by mind ; 409 
and therefore his mind should not be corrupted by crime. Where 
then is he to gain experience ? How is he to be wise and also 
innocent ? When young a good man is apt to be deceived by 
evil-doers, because he has no pattern of evil in himself; and 
therefore the judge should be of a certain age; his youth 
should have been innocent, and he should have acquired insight 
into evil not by the practice of it, but by the observation of it in 
others. This is the ideal of a judge ; the criminal turned detective 
is wonderfully suspicious, but when in company with good men 
who have experience, he is at fault, for he foolishly imagines 
that every one is as bad as himself. Vice may be known of virtue, 
but cannot know virtue. This is the sort of medicine and this the 
sort of law which will prevail in our State ; they will be healing 
arts to better natures ; but the evil body will be left to die by the 410 
one, and the evil soul will be put to death by the other. And the 
need of either will be greatly diminished by good music which 
will give harmony to the soul, and good gymnastic which will give 
health to the body. Not that this division of music and gymnastic 
really corresponds to soul and body ; for they are both equally 
concerned with the soul, which is tamed by the one and aroused 
and sustained by the other. The two together supply our guardians 
with their twofold nature. The passionate disposition when it has 
too much gymnastic is hardened and brutalized, the gentle or 
philosophic temper which has too much music becomes enervated. 
While a man is allowing music to pour like water through the 411 
funnel of his ears, the edge of his soul gradually wears away, and 
the passionate or spirited element is melted out of him. Too little 

Analysis 411-414. xlvii 

spirit is easily exhausted ; too much quickly passes into nervous Republic 
irritability. So, again, the athlete by feeding and training has 


his courage doubled, but he soon grows stupid ; he is like a wild 
beast, ready to do everything by blows and nothing by counsel 
or policy. There are two principles in man, reason and passion, 

412 and to these, not to the soul and body, the two arts of music 
and gymnastic correspond. He who mingles them in harmonious 
concord is the true musician, he shall be the presiding genius of 
our State. 

The next question is, Who are to be our rulers? First, the 
elder must rule the younger; and the best of the elders will 
be the best guardians. Now they will be the best who love their 
subjects most, and think that they have a common interest with 
them in the welfare of the state. These we must select; but 
they must be watched at every epoch of life to see whether 
they have retained the same opinions and held out against force 

413 and enchantment. For time and persuasion and the love of 
pleasure may enchant a man into a change of purpose, and the 
force of grief and pain may compel him. And therefore our 
guardians must be men who have been tried by many tests, 
like gold in the refiner's fire, and have been passed first through 
danger, then through pleasure, and at every age have come 
out of such trials victorious and without stain, in full command 
of themselves and their principles ; having all their faculties 
in harmonious exercise for their country's good. These shall 

414 receive the highest honours both in life and death. (It would 
perhaps be better to confine the term ' guardians' to this select 
class : the younger men may be called ' auxiliaries.') 

And now for one magnificent lie, in the belief of which, Oh that 
we could train our rulers ! at any rate let us make the attempt 
with the rest of the world. What I am going to tell is only a 
another version of the legend of Cadmus ; but our unbelieving 
generation will be slow to accept such a story. The tale must 
be imparted, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, lastly to 
the people. We will inform them that their youth was a dream, 
and that during the time when they seemed to be undergoing 
their education they were really being fashioned in the earth, 
who sent them up when they were ready; and that they must 
protect and cherish her -whose children they are, and regard 

xlviii Analysis 414-417. 

Republic each other as brothers and sisters. ' I do not wonder at your 
ANALYSIS ^ ein S ashamed to propound such a fiction.' There is more 

behind. These brothers and sisters have different natures, and 415 
some of them God framed to rule, whom he fashioned of gold ; 
others he made of silver, to be auxiliaries ; others again to be 
husbandmen and craftsmen, and these were formed by him of 
brass and iron. But as they are all sprung from a common stock, 
a golden parent may have a silver son, or a silver parent a golden 
son, and then there must be a change of rank ; the son of the 
rich must descend, and the child of the artisan rise, in the social 
scale ; for an oracle says ' that the State will come to an end if 
governed by a man of brass or iron.' Will our citizens ever 
believe all this ? ' Not in the present generation, but in the next, 
perhaps, Yes.' 

Now let the earthborn men go forth under the command of 
their rulers, and look about and pitch their camp in a high place, 
which will be safe against enemies from without, and likewise 
against insurrections* from within. There let them sacrifice and 
set up their tents; for soldiers they are to be and not shop- 416 
keepers, the watchdogs and guardians of the sheep ; and luxury 
and avarice will turn them into wolves and tyrants. Their habits 
and their dwellings should correspond to their education. They 
should have no property; their pay should only meet their 
expenses; and they should have common meals. Gold and 
silver we will tell them that they have from God, and this divine 
gift in their souls they must not alloy with that earthly dross 417 
which passes under the name of gold. They only of the citizens 
may not touch it, or be under the same roof with it, or drink 
from it ; it is the accursed thing. Should they ever acquire 
houses or lands or money of their own, they will become house- 
holders and tradesmen instead of guardians, enemies and tyrants 
instead of helpers, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and 
the rest of the State, will be at hand. 


INTRODUC- The religious and ethical aspect of Plato's education will here- 
after be considered under a separate head. Some lesser points 
may be more conveniently noticed in this place. 

i. The constant appeal to the authority of Homer, whom, with 
grave irony, Plato, after the manner of his age, summons as a 

Plato s employment of Homer. xlix 

witness about ethics and psychology, as well as about diet and Republic 
medicine ; attempting to distinguish the better lesson from the 
worse (390), sometimes altering the text from design (388, and, TICK. 
perhaps, 389) ; more than once quoting or alluding to Homer 
inaccurately (391, 406), after the manner of the early logographers 
turning the Iliad into prose (393), and delighting to draw far- 
fetched inferences from his words, or to make ludicrous appli- 
cations of them. He does not, like Heracleitus, get into a rage with 
Homer and Archilochus (Heracl. Frag. 119, ed. Bywater), but uses 
their words and expressions as vehicles of a higher truth ; not on 
a system like Theagenes of Rhegium or Metrodorus, or in later 
times the Stoics, but as fancy may dictate. And the conclusions 
drawn from them are sound, although the premises are fictitious. 
These fanciful appeals to Homer add a charm to Plato's style, 
and at the same time they have the effect of a satire on the 
follies of Homeric interpretation. To us (and probably to him- 
self), although they take the form of arguments, they are really 
figures of speech. They may be compared with modern citations 
from Scripture, which have often a great rhetorical power even 
when the original meaning of the words is entirely lost sight of. 
The real, like the Platonic Socrates, as we gather from the Me- 
morabilia of Xenophon, was fond of making similar adaptations 
(i. 2, 58; ii. 6, n). Great in all ages and countries, in religion as 
well as in law and literature, has been the art of interpretation. 

2. 'The style is to conform to the subject and the metre to the 
style.' Notwithstanding the fascination which the word 'classical* 
exercises over us, we can hardly maintain that this rule is 
observed in all the Greek poetry which has come down to us. 
We cannot deny that the thought often exceeds the power of 
lucid expression in ^Eschylus and Pindar ; or that rhetoric gets 
the better of the thought in the Sophist-poet Euripides. Only 
perhaps in Sophocles is there a perfect harmony of the two ; 
in him alone do we find a grace of language like the beauty of a 
Greek statue, in which there is nothing to add or to take away ; 
at least this is true of single plays or of large portions of them. 
The connection in the Tragic Choruses and in the Greek lyric poets 
is not unfrequently a tangled thread which in an age before logic 
the poet was unable to draw out. Many thoughts and feelings 
mingled in his mind, and he had no power of disengaging or 


1 Style and subject in Poetry. 

Republic arranging them. For there is a subtle influence of logic which 
re< l u i res to ke transferred from prose to poetry, just as the music 
an d perfection of language are infused by poetry into prose. In 
all ages the poet has been a bad judge of his own meaning 
(Apol. 22 B) ; for he does not see that the word which is full of 
associations to his own mind is difficult and unmeaning to that 
of another; or that the sequence which is clear to himself is 
puzzling to others. There are many passages in some of our 
greatest modern poets which are far too obscure ; in which there 
is no proportion between style and subject; in which any half- 
expressed figure, any harsh construction, any distorted collo- 
cation of words, any remote sequence of ideas is admitted ; and 
there is no voice ' coming sweetly from nature,' or music adding 
the expression of feeling to thought. As if there could be poetry 
without beauty, or beauty without ease and clearness. The 
obscurities of early Greek poets arose necessarily out of the state 
of language and logic which existed in their age. They are not 
examples to be followed by us ; for the use of language ought 
in every generation to become clearer and clearer. Like Shake- 
spere, they were great in spite, not in consequence, of their 
imperfections of expression. But there is no reason for returning 
to the necessary obscurity which prevailed in the infancy of 
literature. The English poets of the last century were certainly 
not obscure ; and we have no excuse for losing what they had 
gained, or for going back to the earlier or transitional age which 
preceded them. The thought of our own times has not out- 
stripped language ; a want of Plato's ' art of measuring ' is the 
real cause of the disproportion between them. 

3. In the third book of the Republic a nearer approach is made 
to a theory of art than anywhere else in Plato. His views may 
be summed up as follows : True art is not fanciful and imitative, 
but simple and ideal, the expression of the highest moral 
energy, whether in action or repose. To live among works of 
plastic art which are of this noble and simple character, or to 
listen to such strains, is the best of influences, the true Greek 
atmosphere, in which youth should be brought up. That is the 
way to create in them a natural good taste, which will have a 
feeling of truth and beauty in all things. For though the poets 
are to be expelled, still art is recognized as another aspect of 

Plato s theory of Art. li 

reason like love in the Symposium, extending over the same Republic 
sphere, but confined to the preliminary education, and acting IN ^' UC 
through the power of habit (vii. 522 A) ; and this conception of tl * ! - 
art is not limited to strains of music or the forms of plastic art, 
but pervades all nature and has a wide kindred in the world. The 
Republic of Plato, like the Athens of Pericles, has an artistic as 
well as a political side. 

There is hardly any mention in Plato of the creative arts ; only 
in two or three passages does he even allude to them (cp. 
Rep. iv. 420; Soph. 236 A). He is not lost in rapture at the 
great works of Phidias, the Parthenon, the Propylea, the 
statues of Zeus or Athene. He would probably have regarded 
any abstract truth of number or figure (529 E) as higher than 
the greatest of them. Yet it is hard to suppose that some in- 
fluence, such as he hopes to inspire in youth, did not pass into 
his own mind from the works of art which he saw around him. 
We are living upon the fragments of them, and find in a few 
broken stones the standard of truth and beauty. But in Plato 
this feeling has no expression ; he nowhere says that beauty is 
the object of art ; he seems to deny that wisdom can take an 
external form (Phaedrus, 250 E) ; he does not distinguish the 
fine from the mechanical arts. Whether or no, like sortie writers, 
he felt more than he expressed, it is at any rate remarkable 
that the greatest perfection of the fine arts should coincide 
with an almost entire silence about them. In one very striking 
passage (iv. 420) he tells us that a work of art, like the State, is 
a whole ; and this conception of a whole and the love of the 
newly-born mathematical sciences may be regarded, if not as 
the inspiring, at any rate as the regulating principles of Greek 
art (cp. Xen. Mem. iii. 10. 6 ; and Sophist, 235, 236). 

4. Plato makes the true and subtle remark that the physician 
had better not be in robust health ; and should have known what 
illness is in his own person. But the judge ought to have had no 
similar experience of evil ; he is to be a good man who, having 
passed his youth in innocence^ became acquainted late in life 
with the vices of others. And therefore, according to Plato, a 
judge should not be young, just as a young man according to 
Aristotle is not fit to be a hearer of moral philosophy. The 
bad, on the other hand, have a knowledge of vice, but no know- 

e 2 

Hi The transposition of ranks. 

Republic ledge of virtue. It may be doubted, however, whether this train 
In - of reflection is well founded. In a remarkable passage of the 

TION. Laws (xii. 950 B) it is acknowledged that the evil may form a 

correct estimate of the good. The union of gentleness and 
courage in Book ii. at first seemed to be a paradox, yet was 
afterwards ascertained to be a truth. And Plato might also have 
found that the intuition of evil may be consistent with the 
abhorrence of it (cp. infra, ix. 582). There is a directness of aim 
in virtue which gives an insight into vice. And the knowledge 
of character is in some degree a natural sense independent of 
any special experience of good or evil. 

5. One of the most remarkable conceptions of Plato, because 
un-Greek and also very different from anything which existed 
at all in his age of the wojld, is the transposition of ranks. In the 
Spartan state there had been enfranchisement qf Helots and 
degradation of citizens under special circumstances. And in the 
ancient Greek aristocracies, merit was certainly recognized as one 
of the elements on which government was based. The founders 
of states were supposed to be their benefactors, who were raised 
by their great actions above the ordinary level of humanity ; at 
a later period, the services of warriors and legislators were held to 
entitle them and their descendants to the privileges of citizenship 
and to the first rank in the state. And although the existence 
of an ideal aristocracy is slenderly proven from the remains of 
early Greek history, and we have a difficulty in ascribing such 
a character, however the idea may be defined, to any actual 
Hellenic state or indeed to any state which has ever existed 
in the world still the rule of the best was certainly the aspira- 
tion of philosophers, who probably accommodated a good deal 
their views of primitive history to their own notions of good 
government. Plato further insists on applying to the guardians 
of his state a series of tests by which all those who fell short 
of a fixed standard were either removed from the governing 
body, or not admitted to it ; and this ' academic ' discipline did 
to a certain extent prevail in Greek states, especially in Sparta. 
He also indicates that the system of caste, which existed in a 
great part of the ancient, and is by no means extinct in the 
modern European world, should be set aside from time to time in 
favour of merit. He is aware how deeply the greater part of 

The power of music. liii 

mankind resent any interference with the order of society, and Republic 
therefore he proposes his novel idea in the form of what he , 


himself calls a * monstrous fiction.' (Compare the ceremony of TION - 
preparation for the two ' great waves ' in Book v.) Two principles 
are indicated by him : first, that there is a distinction of ranks 
dependent on circumstances prior to the individual : second, that 
this distinction is and ought to be broken through by personal 
qualities. He adapts mythology like the Homeric poems to the 
wants of the state, making 'the Phoenician tale' the vehicle 
of his ideas. Every Greek state had a myth respecting its own 
origin ; the Platonic republic may also have a tale of earthborn 
men. The gravity and verisimilitude with which the tale is told, 
and the analogy of Greek tradition, are a sufficient verification 
of the ' monstrous falsehood.' Ancient poetry had spoken of a 
gold and silver and brass and iron age succeeding one another, 
but Plato supposes these differences in the natures of men to 
exist together in a single state. Mythology supplies a figure 
under which the lesson may be taught (as Protagoras says, 
* the myth is more interesting '), and also enables Plato to touch 
lightly on new principles without going into details. In this 
passage he shadows forth a general truth, but he does not tell 
us by what steps the transposition of ranks is to be effected. 
Indeed throughout the Republic he allows the lower ranks to 
fade into the distance. We do not know whether they are to 
carry arms, and whether in the fifth book they are or are not 
included in the communistic regulations respecting property 
and marriage. Nor is there any use in arguing strictly either 
from a few chance words, or from the silence of Plato, or 
in drawing inferences which were beyond his vision. Aris- 
totle, in his criticism on the position of the lower classes, does 
not perceive that the poetical creation is 'like the air, invulner- 
able,' and cannot be penetrated by the shafts of his logic (Pol. 2, 
5, 18 foil.). 

6. Two paradoxes which strike the modern reader as in the 
highest degree fanciful and ideal, and which suggest to him 
many reflections, are to be found in the third book of the Re- 
public : first, the great power of music, so much beyond any 
influence which is experienced by us in modern times, when 
the art or science has been far more developed, and has found 

liv Relation of mind and body. 

Republic the secret of harmony, as well as of melody ; secondly, the 
i TR D indefinite and almost absolute control which the soul is supposed 
t o exercise over the body. 

In the first we suspect some degree of exaggeration, such as 
we may also observe among certain masters of the art, not 
unknown to us, at the present day. With this natural enthu- 
siasm, which is felt by a few only, there seems to mingle in 
Plato a sort of Pythagorean reverence for numbers and numerical 
proportion to which Aristotle is a stranger. Intervals of sound 
and number are to him sacred things which have a law of their 
own, not dependent on the variations of sense. They rise above 
sense, and become a connecting link with the world of ideas. 
But it is evident that Plato is describing what to him appears 
to be also a fact. The power of a simple and characteristic 
melody on the impressible mind of the Greek is more than 
we can easily appreciate. The effect of national airs may bear 
some comparison with it. And, besides all this, there is a 
confusion between the harmony of musical notes and the har- 
mony of soul and body, which is so potently inspired by them. 

The second paradox leads up to some curious and in- 
teresting questions How far can the mind control the body? 
Is the relation between them one of mutual antagonism or of 
mutual harmony ? Are they two or one, and is either of them 
the cause of the other ? May we not at times drop the opposition 
between them, and the mode of describing them, which is so 
familiar to us, arid yet hardly conveys any precise meaning, and try 
to view this composite creature, man, in a more simple manner ? 
Must we not at any rate admit that there is in human nature a 
higher and a lower principle, divided by no distinct line, which at 
times break asunder and take up arms against one another ? Or 
again, they are reconciled and move together, either unconsciously 
in the ordinary work of life, or consciously in the pursuit of some 
noble aim, to be attained not without an effort, and for which 
every thought and nerve are strained. And then the body be- 
comes the good friend or ally, or servant or instrument of the 
mind. And the mind has often a wonderful and almost super- 
human power of banishing disease and weakness and calling out 
a hidden strength. Reason and the desires, the intellect and the 
senses are brought into harmony and obedience so as to form a 

The management of health. Iv 

single human being. They are ever parting, ever meeting ; and Republic 
the identity or diversity of their tendencies or operations is for lNTRO p UC . 
the most part unnoticed by us. When the mind touches the body TION - 
through the appetites, we acknowledge the responsibility of the 
one to the other. There is a tendency in us which says ' Drink.' 
There is another which says, * Do not drink ; it is not good for 
you.' And we all of us know which is the rightful superior. We 
are also responsible for our health, although into this sphere there 
enter some elements of necessity which maybe beyond our control. 
Still even in the management of health, care and thought, continued 
over many years, may make us almost free agents, if we do not 
exact too much of ourselves, and if we acknowledge that all 
human freedom is limited by the laws of nature and of mind. 

We are disappointed to find that Plato, in the general con- 
demnation which he passes on the practice of medicine prevailing 
in his own day, depreciates the effects of diet. He would like 
to have diseases of a definite character and capable of receiving 
a definite treatment. He is afraid of invalidism interfering with 
the business of life. He does not recognize that time is the 
great healer both of mental and bodily disorders; and that 
remedies which are gradual and proceed little by little are safer 
than those which produce a sudden catastrophe. Neither -does 
he see that there is no way in which the mind can more 
surely influence the body than by the control of eating and 
drinking; or any other action or occasion of human life on 
which the higher freedom of the will can be more simply or 
truly asserted. 

7. Lesser matters of style may be remarked, (i) The affected 
ignorance of music, which is Plato's way of expressing that 
he is passing lightly over the subject. (2) The tentative manner 
in which here, as in the second book, he proceeds with the 
construction of the State. (3) The description of the State some- 
times as a reality (389 D ; 416 B), and then again as a work of 
imagination only (cp. 534 C ; 592 B) ; these are the arts by which 
he sustains the reader's interest. (4) Connecting links (e. g. 
408 C with 379), or the preparation (394 D) for the entire ex- 
pulsion of the poets in Book x. (5) The companion pictures 
of the lover of litigation and the valetudinarian (405), the satirical 
jest about the maxim of Phocylides (407), the manner in which 

Ivi Analysis 419-422. 

Republic the image of the gold and silver citizens is taken up into the 

subject (4 l6 ^) and tne ar g ument fr m the practice of Asclepius 
(407), should not escape notice. 

ANALYSIS. BOOK IV. Adeimantus said : ' Suppose a person to argue, Step] 
Socrates, that you make your citizens miserable, and this by 4I ^ 
their own free-will ; they are the lords of the city, and yet in- 
stead of having, like other men, lands and houses and money 
of their own, they live as mercenaries and are always mounting 
guard.' You may add, I replied, that they receive no pay but 420 
only their food, and have no money to spend on a journey or a 
mistress. ' Well, and what answer do you give ? ' My answer is, 
that our guardians may or may not be the happiest of men, I 
should not be surprised to find in the long-run that they were, 
but this is not the aim of our constitution, which was de- 
signed for the good of the whole and not of any one part. If 
I went to a sculptor and blamed him for having painted the 
eye, which is the noblest feature of the face, not purple but 
black, he would reply : ' The eye must be an eye, and you 
should look at the statue as a whole.' * Now I can well imagine 
a fool's paradise, in which everybody is eating and drinking, 
clothed in purple and fine linen, and potters lie on sofas and 
have their wheel at hand, that they may work a little when 
they please ; and cobblers and all the other classes of a State 421 
lose their distinctive character. And a State may get on with- 
out cobblers ; but when the guardians degenerate into boon 
companions, then the ruin is complete. Remember that we 
are not talking of peasants keeping holiday, but of a State in 
which every man is expected to do his own work. The hap- 
piness resides not in this or that class, but in the State as a 
whole. I have another remark to make : A middle con- 
dition is best for artisans; they should have money enough 
to buy tools, and not enough to be independent of business. 
And will not the same condition be best for our citizens ? If 422 
they are poor, they will be mean ; if rich, luxurious and lazy ; 
and in neither case contented. ' But then how will our poor 
city be able to go to war against an enemy who has money ? ' 
There may be a difficulty in fighting against one enemy ; against 
two there will be none. In the first place, the contest will be 

Analysis 422-425. Ivii 

carried on by trained warriors against well-to-do citizens : and Republic 



is not a regular athlete an easy match for two stout opponents 

at least ? Suppose also, that before engaging we send ambas- 
sadors to one of the two cities, saying, ' Silver and gold we 
have not ; do you help us and take our share of the spoil ; ' 
who would fight against the lean, wiry dogs, when they might join 
with them in preying upon the fatted sheep ? ' But if many states 
join their resources, shall we not be in danger ? ' I am amused 
to hear you use the word 'state' of any but our own State. 

423 They are ' states,' but not ' a state 'many in one. For in every 
state there are two hostile nations, rich and poor, which you 
may set one against the other. But our State, while she remains 
true to her principles, will be in very deed the mightiest of 
Hellenic states. 

To the size of the state there is no limit but the necessity of 
unity ; it must be neither too large nor too small to be one. This 
is a matter of secondary importance, like the principle of trans- 
position which was intimated in the parable of the earthborn men. 
The meaning there implied was that every man should do that 
for which he was fitted, and be at one with himself, and then the 
whole city would be united. But all these things are secondary, 

424 if education, which is the great matter, be duly regarded. When 
the wheel has once been set in motion, the speed is always in- 
creasing ; and each generation improves upon the preceding, 
both in physical and moral qualities. The care of the governors 
should be directed to preserve music and gymnastic from inno- 
vation ; alter the songs of a country, Damon says, and you will 
soon end by altering its laws. The change appears innocent at 
first, and begins in play; but the evil soon becomes serious, 
working secretly upon the characters of individuals, then upon 
social and commercial relations, and lastly upon the institutions 

425 of a state ; and there is ruin and confusion everywhere. But if 
education remains in the established form, there will be no 
danger. A restorative process will be always going on; the 
spirit of law and order will raise up what has fallen down. Nor 
will any regulations be needed for the lesser matters of life rules 
of deportment or fashions of dress. Like invites like for good 
or for evil. Education will correct deficiencies and supply the 
power of self-government. Far be it from us to enter into the 

Iviii Analysis 425-427. 

Republic particulars of legislation ; let the guardians take care of education, 

ANALYSIS. anc * e ^ ucat ^ on w ^ ta ^e care of all other things. 

But without education they may patch and mend as they please ; 
they will make no progress, any more than a patient who thinks 
to cure himself by some favourite remedy and will not give up 
his luxurious mode of living. If you tell such persons that they 426 
must first alter their habits, then they grow angry; they are 
charming people. * Charming, nay, the very reverse.' Evi- 
dently these gentlemen are not in your good graces, nor the 
state which is like them. And such states there are which first 
ordain under penalty of death that no one shall alter the con- 
stitution, and then suffer themselves to be flattered into and 
out of anything ; and he who indulges them and fawns upon them, 
is their leader and saviour. 'Yes, the men are as bad as the 
states.' But do you not admire their cleverness ? * Nay, some 
of them are stupid enough to believe what the people tell them.' 
And when all the world is telling a man that he is six feet 
high, and he has no measure, how can he believe anything else ? 
But don't get into a passion : to see our statesmen trying their 
nostrums, and fancying that they can cut off at a blow the Hydra- 427 
like rogueries of mankind, is as good as a play. Minute enact- 
ments are superfluous in good states, and are useless in bad 

And now what remains of the work of legislation ? Nothing for 
us ; but to Apollo the god of Delphi we leave the ordering of the 
greatest of all things that is to say, religion. Only our ancestral 
deity sitting upon the centre and navel of the earth will be trusted 
by us if we have any sense, in an affair of such magnitude. No 
foreign god shall be supreme in our realms 

INTRODUC- Here, as Socrates would say, let us ' reflect on ' (o-KOTrfytf v) what 


has preceded : thus far we have spoken not of the happiness of 
the citizens, but only of the well-being of the State. They may be 
the happiest of men, but our principal aim in founding the State 
was not to make them happy. They were to be guardians, not 
holiday-makers. In this pleasant manner is presented to us the 
famous question both of ancient and modern philosophy, touching 
the relation of duty to happiness, of right to utility. 

First duty, then happiness, is the natural order of our moral 
ideas. The utilitarian principle is valuable as a corrective of 

Happiness and duty. lix 

error, and shows to us a side of ethics which is apt to be neglected. Republic 
It may be admitted further that right and utility are co-extensive, 
and that he who makes the happiness of mankind his object TION - 
has one of the highest and noblest motives of human action. But 
utility is not the historical basis of morality ; nor the aspect in 
which moral and religious ideas commonly occur to the mind. 
The greatest happiness of all is, as we believe, the far-off result 
of the divine government of the universe. The greatest happiness 
of the individual is certainly to be found in a life of virtue and 
goodness. But we seem to be more assured of a law of right than 
we can be of a divine purpose, that 'all mankind should be 
saved ; ' and we infer the one from the other. And the greatest 
happiness of the individual may be the reverse of the greatest 
happiness in the ordinary sense of the term, and may be realised 
in a life of pain, or in a voluntary death. Further, the word 
' happiness ' has several ambiguities ; it may mean either pleasure 
or an ideal life, happiness subjective or objective, in this world or 
in another, of ourselves only or of our neighbours and of all men 
everywhere. By the modern founder of Utilitarianism the self- 
regarding and disinterested motives of action are included under 
the same term, although they are commonly opposed by us as 
benevolence and self-love. The word happiness has not the 
definiteness or the sacredness of ' truth ' and ' right ' ; it does not 
equally appeal to our higher nature, and has not sunk into the 
conscience of mankind. It is associated too much with the com- 
forts and conveniences of life ; too little with ' the goods of the soul 
which we desire for their own sake.' In a great trial, or danger, 
or temptation, or in any great and heroic action, it is scarcely 
thought of. For these reasons ' the greatest happiness ' principle 
is not the true foundation of ethics. But though not the first 
principle, it is the second, which is like unto it, and is often of 
easier application. For the larger part of human actions are 
neither right nor wrong, except in so far as they tend to the 
happiness of mankind (cp. Introd. to Gorgias and Philebus). 

The same question reappears in politics, where the useful or 
expedient seems to claim a larger sphere and to have a greater 
authority. For concerning political measures, we chiefly ask : 
How will they affect the happiness of mankind ? Yet here too we 
may observe that what we term .expediency is merely the law of 

Ix Idealism in Politics. 

Republic right limited by the conditions of human society. Right and truth 
INTR D c are *^ e highest aims of government as well as of individuals ; and 
TION. we ought not to lose sight of them because we cannot directly 
enforce them. They appeal to the better mind of nations ; and 
sometimes they are too much for merely temporal interests to 
resist. They are the watchwords which all men use in matters of 
public policy, as well as in their private dealings ; the peace of 
Europe may be said to depend upon them. In the most com- 
mercial and utilitarian states of society the power of ideas remains. 
And all the higher class of statesmen have in them something of 
that idealism which Pericles is said to have gathered from the 
teaching of Anaxagoras. They recognise that the true leader of 
men must be above the motives of ambition, and that national 
character is of greater value than material comfort and prosperity. 
And this is the order of thought in Plato ; first, he expects 
his citizens to do their duty, and then under favourable circum- 
stances, that is to say, in a well-ordered State, their happi- 
ness is assured. That he was far from excluding the modern 
principle of utility in politics is sufficiently evident from other 
passages, in which ' the most beneficial is affirmed to be the most 
honourable ' (v. 457 B), and also ' the most sacred ' (v. 458 E). 

We may note (i) The manner in which the objection of Adei- 
mantus here, as in ii. 357 foil., 363 ; vi. ad init. etc., is designed to 
draw out and deepen the argument of Socrates. (2) The con- 
ception of a whole as lying at the foundation both of politics and 
of art, in the latter supplying the only principle of criticism, 
which, under the various names of harmony, symmetry, measure, 
proportion, unity, the Greek seems to have applied to works of 
art. (3) The requirement that the State should be limited in 
size, after the traditional model of a Greek state ; as in the 
Politics of Aristotle (vii. 4, etc.), the fact that the cities of Hellas 
were small is converted into a principle. (4) The humorous 
pictures of the lean dogs and the fatted sheep, of the light active 
boxer upsetting two stout gentlemen at least, of the ' charming ' 
patients who are always making themselves worse ; or again, the 
playful assumption that there is no State but our own ; or the 
grave irony with which the statesman is excused who believes that 
he is six feet high because he is told so, and having nothing to 
measure with is to be pardoned for his ignorance he is too 

Analysis 427-430. Ixi 

amusing for us to be seriously angry with him. (5) The light and Republic 
superficial manner in which religion is passed over when pro- ^ 
vision has been made for two great principles, first, that religion TION. 
shall be based on the highest conception of the gods (ii. 377 foil.), 
secondly, that the true national or Hellenic type shall be main- 

Socrates proceeds : But where amid all this is justice ? Son of ANALYSIS. 
Ariston, tell me where. Light a candle and search the city, and get 
your brother and the rest of our friends to help in seeking for her. 
* That won't do,' replied Glaucon, ' you yourself promised to make 
the search and talked about the impiety of deserting justice.' Well, 
I said, I will lead the way, but do you follow. My notion is, that 
our State being perfect will contain all the four virtues wisdom, 

428 courage, temperance, justice. If we eliminate the three first, the 
unknown remainder will be justice. 

First then, of wisdom : the State which we have called into 
being will be wise because politic. And policy is one among 
many kinds of skill, not the skill of the carpenter, or of the 
worker in metal, or of the husbandman, but the skill of him who 
advises about the interests of the whole State. Of such a kind is 

429 the skill of the guardians, who are a small class in number, far 
smaller than the blacksmiths ; but in them is concentrated the 
wisdom of the State. And if this small ruling dass have wisdom, 
then the whole State will be wise. 

Our second virtue is courage, which we have no difficulty in 
finding in another class that of soldiers. Courage may be 
defined as a sort of salvation the never-failing salvation of the 
opinions which law and education have prescribed concerning 
dangers. You know the way in which dyers first prepare the 
white ground and then lay on the dye of purple or of any other 
colour. Colours dyed in this way become fixed, and no soap or 

430 lye will ever wash them out. Now the ground is education, and 
the laws are the colours; and if the ground is properly laid, 
neither the soap of pleasure nor the lye of pain or fear will ever 
wash them out. This power which preserves right opinion about 
danger I would ask you to call ' courage,' adding the epithet 
'political ' or ' civilized ' in order to distinguish it from mere animal 
courage and from a higher courage which may hereafter be 

Ixii Analysis 431-434. 

Republic Two virtues remain ; temperance and justice. More than the 
ANALYSIS. P rececu ' n g virtues temperance suggests the idea of harmony. 431 
Some light is thrown upon the nature of this virtue by the popular 
description of a man as ' master of himself 'which has an absurd 
sound, because the master is also the servant. The expression 
really means that the better principle in a man masters the worse. 
There are in cities whole classes women, slaves and the like 
who correspond to the worse, and a few only to the better ; and in 
our State the former class are held under control by the latter. 
Now to which of these classes does temperance belong ? * To both 
of them.' And our State if any will be the abode of temperance ; 
and we were right in describing this virtue as a harmony which 
is diffused through the whole, making the dwellers in the city to 432 , 
be of one mind, and attuning the upper and middle and lower 
classes like the strings of an instrument, whether you suppose 
them to differ in wisdom, strength or wealth. 

And now we are hear the spot ; let us draw in and surround the 
cover and watch with all our eyes, lest justice should slip away 
and escape. Tell me, if you see the thicket move first. * Nay, I 
would have you lead.' Well then, offer up a prayer and follow. 
The way is dark and difficult ; but we must push on. I begin to 
see a track. ' Good news.' Why, Glaucon, our dulness of scent 
is quite ludicrous ! While we are straining our eyes into the 
distance, justice is tumbling out at our feet. We are as bad as 
people looking for a thing which they have in their hands. Have 433 
you forgotten our old principle of the division of labour, or of every 
man doing his own business, concerning which we spoke at the 
foundation of the State what but this was justice ? Is there any 
other virtue remaining which can compete with wisdom and 
temperance and courage in the scale of political virtue ? For 
* every one having his own ' is the great object of government ; and 
the great object of trade is that every man should do his own 434 
business. Not that there is much harm in a carpenter trying to 
be a cobbler, or a cobbler transforming himself into a carpenter ; 
but great evil may arise from the cobbler leaving his last and 
turning into a guardian or legislator, or when a single individual 
is trainer, warrior, legislator, all in one. And this evil is injustice, 
or every man doing another's business. I do not say that as yet 
we are in a condition to arrive at a final conclusion. For the 

The definition of justice. Ixiii 

definition which we believe to hold good in states has still to be Republic 

tested by the individual. Having read the large letters we will ANALYSIS. 

435 now come back to the small. From the two together a brilliant 
light may be struck out. . . . 

Socrates proceeds to discover the nature of justice by a method INTRODUC- 
of residues. Each of the first three virtues corresponds to one of 
the three parts of the soul and one of the three classes in the 
State, although the third, temperance, has more of the nature of a 
harmony than the first two. If there be a fourth virtue, that can 
only be sought for in the relation of the three parts in the soul or 
classes in the State to one another. It is obvious and simple, and 
for that very reason has not been found out. The modern logician 
will be inclined to object that ideas cannot be separated like 
chemical substances, but that they run into one another and may 
be only different aspects or names of the same thing, and such in 
this instance appears to be the case. For the definition here given 
of justice is verbally the same as one of the definitions of temper- 
ance given by Socrates in the Charmides (162 A), which however 
is only provisional, and is afterwards rejected. And so far from 
justice remaining over when the other virtues are eliminated, the 
justice and temperance of the Republic can with difficulty be 
distinguished. Temperance appears to be the virtue of a part 
only, and one of three, whereas justice is a universal virtue of the 
whole soul. Yet on the other hand temperance is also described 
as a sort of harmony, and in this respect is akin to justice. Justice 
seems to differ from temperance in degree rather than in kind ; 
whereas temperance is the harmony of discordant elements, 
justice is the perfect order by which all natures and classes 
do their own business, the right man in the right place, the 
division and co-operation of all the citizens. Justice, again, is a 
more abstract notion than the other virtues, and therefore, from 
Plato's point of view, the foundation of them, to which they are 
referred and which in idea precedes them. The proposal to 
omit temperance is a mere trick of style intended to avoid 
monotony (cp. vii. 528). 

There is a famous question discussed in one of the earlier 
Dialogues of Plato (Protagoras, 329, 330 ; cp. Arist. Nic. Ethics, vi. 
13. 6), ' Whether the virtues are one or many ? ' This receives an 
answer which is to the effect that there are four cardinal virtues 

Ixiv Analysis 435-437. 

Republic (now for the first time brought together in ethical philosophy), 
INTRODUC- anc * one su P reme ver the rest, which is not like Aristotle's 
TION. conception of universal justice, virtue relative to others, but the 
whole of virtue relative to the parts. To this universal conception 
of justice or order in the first education and in the moral nature of 
man, the still more universal conception of the good in the second 
education and in the sphere of speculative knowledge seems to 
succeed. Both might be equally described by the terms Maw,' 
'order/ 'harmony;' but while the idea of good embraces 'all 
time and all existence,' the conception of justice is not extended 
beyond man. 

ANALYSIS. . . . Socrates is now going to identify the individual and the 
State. But first he must prove that there are three parts of the 
individual soul. His argument is as follows : Quantity makes no 
difference in quality. The word 'just/ whether applied to the 
individual or to the State, has the same meaning. And the term 
'justice ' implied that the same three principles in the State and in 
the individual were doing their own business. But are they really 
three or one ? The question is difficult, and one which can hardly 
be solved by the methods which we are now using ; but the truer 
and longer way would take up too much of our time. 'The 
shorter will satisfy me*' Well then, you would admit that the 
qualities of states mean the qualities of the individuals who 
compose them? The Scythians and Thracians are passionate, 
our own race intellectual, and the Egyptians and Phoenicians 436 
covetous, because the individual members of each have such and 
such a character ; the difficulty is to determine whether the 
several principles are one or three ; whether, that is to say, we 
reason with one part of our nature, desire with another, are angry 
with another, or whether the whole soul comes into play in each 
sort of action. This enquiry, however, requires a very exact 
definition of terms. The same thing in the same relation cannot 
be affected in two opposite ways. But there is no impossibility in 
a man standing still, yet moving his arms, or in a top which 
is fixed on one spot going round upon its axis. There is no 
necessity to mention all the possible exceptions ; let us pro- 437 
visionally assume that opposites cannot do or be or suffer 
opposites in the same relation. And to the class of opposites 
belong assent and dissent, desire and avoidance. And one form 

Analysis 437-441, Ixv 

of desire is thirst and hunger : and here arises a new point Republic 



thirst is thirst of drink, hunger is hunger of food ; not of warm 

438 drink or of a particular kind of food, with the single exception of 
course that the very fact of our desiring anything implies that it is 
good. When relative terms have no attributes, their correlatives 
have no attributes ; when they have attributes, their correlatives 
also have them. For example, the term 'greater' is simply 
relative to ' less,' and knowledge refers to a subject of knowledge. 
But on the other hand, a particular knowledge is of a particular 
subject. Again, every science has a distinct character, which is 
defined by an object ; medicine, for example, is the science of 

439 health, although not to be confounded with health. Having cleared 
our ideas thus far, let us return to the original instance of thirst, 
which has a definite object drink. Now the thirsty soul may feel 
two distinct impulses ; the animal one saying ' Drink ; ' the rational 
one, which says * Do not drink.' The two impulses are contradic- 
tory ; and therefore we may assume that they spring from distinct 
principles in the soul. But is passion a third principle, or akin to 
desire ? There is a story of a certain Leontius which throws some, 

light on this question. He was coming up from the Piraeus 
outside the north wall, and he passed a spot where there were 
dead bodies lying by the executioner. He felt a longing desire to 
see them and also an abhorrence of them ; at first he turned away 

440 and shut his eyes, then, suddenly tearing them open, he said, 
4 Take your fill, ye wretches, of the fair sight.' Now is there 
not here a third principle which is often found to come to the 
assistance of reason against desire, but never of desire against 
reason ? This is passion or spirit, of the separate existence of 
which we may further convince ourselves by putting the following 
case : When a man suffers justly, if he be of a generous nature 
he is not indignant at the hardships which he undergoes \ 
but when he suffers unjustly, his indignation is his great support ; 
hunger and thirst cannot tame him ; the spirit within him must; 
do or die, until the voice of the shepherd, that is, of reason, 
bidding his dog bark no more, is heard within. This shows 

441 that passion is the ally of reason. Is passion then the same with 
reason ? No, for the former exists in children and brutes ; and 
Homer affords a proof of the distinction between them when he 
says, ' He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul.' 

Ixvi Analysis 441-445. 

Republic And now, at last, we have reached firm ground, and are able to 
ANALYSIS ^ GT tnat t ^ le v ^ rtues ^ tne State and of the individual are the 
same. For wisdom and courage and justice in the State are 
severally the wisdom and courage and justice in the individuals 
who form the State. Each of the three classes will do the work 
of its own class in the State, and each part in the individual soul ; 
reason, the superior, and passion, the inferior, will be harmonized 442 
by the influence of music and gymnastic. The counsellor and the 
warrior, the head and the arm, will act together in the town of 
Mansoul, and keep the desires in proper subjection. The courage 
of the warrior is that quality which preserves a right opinion 
about dangers in spite of pleasures and pains. The wisdom of 
the counsellor is that small part of the soul which has authority 
and reason. The virtue of temperance is the friendship of the 
ruling and the subject principles, both in the State and in the 
individual. Of justice we have already spoken ; and the notion 
already given of it may be confirmed by common instances. 
Will the just state or the just individual steal, lie, commit adultery, 443 
or be guilty of impiety to gods and men ? ' No.' And is not the 
reason of this that the several principles, whether in the state or 
in the individual, do their own business ? And justice is the 
quality which makes just men and just states. Moreover, our old 
division of labour, which required that there should be one man 
for one use, was a dream or anticipation of what was to follow ; 
and that dream has now been realized in justice, which begins by 
binding together the three chords of the soul, and then acts 
harmoniously in every relation of life. And injustice, which is 444 
the insubordination and disobedience of the inferior elements in 
the soul, is the opposite of justice, and is inharmonious and 
unnatural, being to the soul what disease is to the body ; for in the 
soul as well as in the body, good or bad actions produce good or 
bad habits. And virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of 
the soul, and vice is the disease and weakness and deformity of 
the soul. 

Again the old question returns upon us : Is justice or injustice 445 
the more profitable ? The question has become ridiculous. For 
injustice, like mortal disease, makes life not worth having. Come 
up with me to the hill which overhangs the city and look down 
upon the single form of virtue, and the infinite forms of vice, 

The laws of contradiction. Ixvii 

among which are four special ones, characteristic both of states Republic 
and of individuals. And the state which corresponds to the 


single form of virtue is that which we have been describing, 
wherein reason rules under one of two names monarchy and 
aristocracy. Thus there are five forms in all, both of states and of 
souls. . . . 

In attempting to prove that the soul has three separate faculties, INTRODUC- 
Plato takes occasion to discuss what makes difference of faculties. 
And the criterion which he proposes is difference in the working 
of the faculties. The same faculty cannot produce contradic- 
tory effects. But the path of early reasoners is beset by thorny 
entanglements, and he will not proceed a step without first 
clearing the ground. This leads him into a tiresome digression, 
which is intended to explain the nature of contradiction. First, 
the contradiction must be at the same time and in the same 
relation. Secondly, no extraneous word must be introduced 
into either of the terms in which the contradictory proposition 
is expressed : for example, thirst is of drink, not of warm drink. 
He implies, what he does not say, that if, by the advice of reason, 
or by the impulse of anger, a man is restrained from drinking, 
this proves that thirst, or desire under which thirst is included, is 
distinct from anger and reason. But suppose that we allow 
the term ' thirst ' or ' desire ' to be modified, and say an ' angry 
thirst,' or a 'revengeful desire,' then the two spheres of desire 
and anger overlap and become confused. This case therefore 
has to be excluded. And still there remains an exception to 
the rule in the use of the term * good,' which is always implied 
in the object of desire. These are the discussions of an age 
before logic ; and any one who is wearied by them should re- 
member that they are necessary to the clearing up of ideas in 
the first development of the human faculties. 

The psychology of Plato extends no further than the division 
of the soul into the rational, irascible, and concupiscent elements, 
which, as far as we know, was first made by him, and has 
been retained by Aristotle and succeeding ethical writers. The 
chief difficulty in this early analysis of the mind is to define 
exactly the place of the irascible faculty (tfv/udf), which may be 
variously described under the terms righteous indignation, spirit, 
passion. It is the foundation of courage, which includes in Plato 


Ixviii Passion and desire. 

Republic moral courage, the courage of enduring pain, and of surmounting 
INTRODUC- intellectual difficulties, as well as of meeting dangers in war. 
TICK. Though irrational, \\ inclines to side with the rational : it cannot 
be aroused by punishment when justly inflicted : it sometimes 
takes the form of an enthusiasm which sustains a man in the per- 
formance of great actions. It is the ' lion heart ' with which the 
reason makes a treaty (ix. 589 B). On the other hand it is nega- 
tive rather than positive ; it is indignant at wrong or falsehood, but 
does not, like Love in the Symposium and Phaedrus, aspire to the 
vision of Truth or Good. It is the peremptory military spirit 
which prevails in the government of honour. It differs from anger 
(opyr)), this latter term having no accessory notion of righteous 
indignation. Although Aristotle has retained the word, yet we 
may observe that * passion ' (0u/*os) has with him lost its affinity 
to the rational and has become indistinguishable from 'anger* 
(opyrj). And to this vernacular use Plato himself in the Laws 
seems to revert (ix. 836 B), though not always (v. 731 A). By 
modern philosophy too, as well as in our ordinary conversation, 
the words anger or passion are employed almost exclusively 
in a bad sense ; there is no connotation of a just or reasonable 
cause by which they are aroused. The feeling of ' righteous in- 
dignation ' is too partial and accidental to admit of our regarding 
it as a separate virtue or habit. We are tempted also to doubt 
whether Plato is right in supposing that an offender, however 
justly condemned, could be expected to acknowledge the justice 
of his sentence ; this is the spirit of a philosopher or martyr rather 
than of a criminal. 

We may observe (p. 444 D, E) how nearly Plato approaches 
Aristotle's famous thesis, that ' good actions produce good habits.' 
The words ' as healthy practices (fWiyflev/iara) produce health, so 
do just practices produce justice,' have a sound very like the 
Nicomachean Ethics. But we note also that an incidental remark 
in Plato has become a far-reaching principle in Aristotle, and an 
inseparable part of a great Ethical system. 

There is a difficulty in understanding what Plato meant by 
* the longer way ' (435 D ; cp. infra, vi. 504) : he seems to intimate 
some metaphysic of the future which will not be satisfied with 
arguing from the principle of contradiction. In the sixth and 
seventh books (compare Sophist and Parmenides) he has given 

The longer way. Ixix 

us a sketch of such a metaphysic : but when Glaucon asks for Republic 

the final revelation of the idea of good, he is put off with the INTRO D UC . 

declaration that he has not yet studied the preliminary sciences. TION - 
How he would have filled up the sketch, or argued about such 
questions from a higher point of view, we can only conjecture. 
Perhaps he hoped to find some a priori method of developing 
the parts out of the whole ; or he might have asked which of 
the ideas contains the other ideas, and possibly have stumbled 
on the Hegelian identity of the ' eg6 ' and the ' universal. 7 Or 
he may have imagined that ideas might be constructed in some 
manner analogous to the construction of figures and numbers 
in the mathematical sciences. The most certain and necessary 
truth was to Plato the universal; and to this he was always 
seeking to refer all knowledge or opinion, just as in modern 
times we seek to rest them on the opposite pole of induction 
and experience. The aspirations of metaphysicians have always 
tended to pass beyond the limits of human thought and language : 
they seem to have reached a height at which they are ' moving 
about in worlds unrealized,' and theft conceptions, although 
profoundly affecting their own minds, become invisible or un- 
intelligible to others. We are not therefore surprized to find 
that Plato himself has nowhere clearly explained his doctrine 
of ideas ; or that his school in a later generation, like his con- 
temporaries Glaucon and Adeimantus, were unable to follow 
him in this region of speculation. In the Sophist, where he is 
refuting the scepticism which maintained either that there was no 
such thing as predication, or that all might be predicated of all, he 
arrives at the conclusion that some ideas combine with some, 
but not all with all. But he makes only one or two steps forward 
on this path; he nowhere attains to any connected system of 
ideas, or even to a knowledge of the most elementary relations 
of the sciences to one another (see infra). 

Steph. BOOK V. I was going to enumerate the four forms of vice ANALYSIS. 
449 or decline in states, when Polemarchus he was sitting a little 
farther from me than Adeimantus taking him by the coat and 
leaning towards him, said something in an undertone, of which 
I only caught the words, ' Shall we let him off?' 'Certainly 
not,' said Adeimantus, raising his voice* Whom, I said, are you 

Ixx Analysis 449-452. 

Republic not going to let off? * You, 3 he said. Why ? ' Because we think 
ANALYSIS ^ at ^ ou are not Dealing fairly with us in omitting women and 
children, of whom you have slily disposed under the general 
formula that friends have all things in common.' And was I 
not right? 'Yes/ he replied, 'but there are many sorts of 
communism or community, and we want to know which of them 
is right. The company, as you have just heard, are resolved 
to have a further explanation.' Thrasymachus said, * Do you 450 
think that we have come hither to dig for gold, or to hear you 
discourse ? ' Yes, I said ; but the discourse should be of a reason- 
able length. Glaucon added, ' Yes, Socrates, and there is reason 
in spending the whole of life in such discussions ; but pray, with- 
out more ado, tell us how this community is to be carried out, 
and how the interval between birth and education is to be 
filled up.' Well, I said, the subject has several difficulties 
What is possible ? is the first question. What is desirable ? is 
the second. ' Fear not,' he replied, ' for you are speaking among 
friends.' That, I replied, is a sorry consolation ; I shall destroy 
my friends as well as myself. Not that I mind a little innocent 45 * 
laughter ; but he who kills the truth is a murderer. ' Then,' said 
Glaucon, laughing, ' in case you should murder us we will acquit 
you beforehand, and you shall be held free from the guilt of 
deceiving us.' 

Socrates proceeds : The guardians of our state are to be 
watch-dogs, as we have already said. Now dogs are not divided 
into hes and shes we do not take the masculine gender out 
to hunt and leave the females at home to look after their puppies. 
They have the same employments the only difference between 
them is that the one sex is stronger and the other weaker. But 
if women are to have the same employments as men, they 
must have the same education they must be taught music 
and gymnastics, and the art of war. I know that a great joke 45 2 
will be made of their riding on horseback and carrying weapons ; 
the sight of the naked old wrinkled women showing their agility 
in the palaestra will certainly not be a vision of beauty, and may 
be expected to become a famous jest But we must not mind 
the wits ; there was a time when they might have laughed at 
our present gymnastics. All is habit : people have at last found 
out that the exposure is better than the concealment of the 

Analysis 452-456. Ixxi 

person, and now they laugh no more. Evil only should be the Republic 


subject of ridicule. 

453 The first question is, whether women are able either wholly or 
partially to share in the employments of men. And here we 
may be charged with inconsistency in making the proposal at all. 
For we started originally with the division of labour ; and the 
diversity of employments was based on the difference of natures. 
But is there no difference between men and women ? Nay, 
are they not wholly different ? There was the difficulty, Glaucon, 
which made me unwilling to speak of family relations. However, 
when a man is out of his depth, whether in a pool or in an ocean, 
he can only swim for his life ; and we must try to find a way of 
escape, if we can. 

454 The argument is, that different natures have different uses, and 
the natures of men and women are said to differ. But this is only 
a verbal opposition. We do not consider that the difference 
may be purely nominal and accidental ; for example, a bald man 
and a hairy man are opposed in a single point of view, but 
you cannot infer that because a bald man is a cobbler a hairy 
man ought not to be a cobbler. Now why is such an inference 
erroneous? Simply because the opposition between them is 
partial only, like the difference between a male physician and 
a female physician, not running through the whole nature, like the 
difference between a physician and a carpenter. And if the 
difference of the sexes is only that the one beget and the other 
bear children, this does not prove that they ought to have 

455 distinct educations. Admitting that women differ from men in 
capacity, do not men equally differ from one another? Has 
not nature scattered all the qualities which our citizens require 
indifferently up and down among the two sexes ? and even in 
their peculiar pursuits, are not women often, though in some 
cases superior to men, ridiculously enough surpassed by them? 
Women are the same in kind as men, and have the same aptitude 

456 or want of aptitude for medicine or gymnastic or war, but in a 
less degree. One woman will be a good guardian, another not ; 
and the good must be chosen to be the colleagues of our 
guardians. If however their natures are the same, the inference 
is that their education must also be the same ; there is no longer 
anything unnatural or impossible in a woman learning music 

Ixxii Analysis 456-460. 

Republic and gymnastic. And the education which we give them will 

ANALYSIS ^ e the vei%v ^est, ^ T su P er * or to that f cobblers, and will train 
up the very best women, and nothing can be more advantageous to 
the State than this. Therefore let them strip, clothed in their 457 
chastity, and share in the toils of war and in the defence of their 
country ; he who laughs at them is a fool for his pains. 

The first wave is past, and the argument is compelled to admit 
that men and women have common duties and pursuits. A 
second and greater wave is rolling in community of wives and 
children ; is this either expedient or possible ? The expediency 
I do not doubt ; I am not so sure of the possibility. ' Nay, I 
think that a considerable doubt will be entertained on both 
points.' I meant to have escaped the trouble of proving the 
first, but as you have detected the little stratagem I must even 
submit. Only allow me to feed my fancy like the solitary in his 45 8 
walks, with a dream of what might be, and then I will return to 
the question of what can be. 

In the first place our rulers will enforce the laws and make new 
ones where they are wanted, and their allies or ministers will 
obey. You, as legislator, have already selected the men ; and 
how you shall select the women. After the selection has been 
made, they will dwell in common houses and have their meals in 
common, and will be brought together by a necessity more certain 
than that of mathematics. But they cannot be allowed to live in 
licentiousness ; that is an unholy thing, which the rulers are 
determined to prevent. For the avoidance of this, holy marriage 
festivals will be instituted, and their holiness will be in proportion 459 
to their usefulness. And here, Glaucon, I should like to ask (as 
I know that you are a breeder of birds and animals), Do you 
not take the greatest care in the mating ? * Certainly.' And there 
is no reason to suppose that less care is required in the marriage 
of human beings. But then our rulers must be skilful physicians 
of the State, for they will often need a strong dose of falsehood in 
order to bring about desirable unions between their subjects. 
The good must be paired with the good, and the bad with the 
bad, and the offspring of the one must be reared, and of the other 
destroyed ; in this way the flock will be preserved in prime 
condition. Hymeneal festivals will be celebrated at times fixed 460 
with an eye to population, and the brides and bridegrooms will 

Analysis 460-462. Ixxiii 

meet at them ; and by an ingenious system of lots the rulers will Republic 
contrive that the brave and the fair come together, and that those ' 

of inferior breed are paired with inferiors the latter will ascribe 
to chance what is really the invention of the rulers. And when 
children are born, the offspring of the brave and fair will be 
carried to an enclosure in a certain part of the city, and there 
attended by suitable nurses ; the rest will be hurried away to 
places unknown. The mothers will be brought to the fold and 
will suckle the children; care however must be taken that none 
of them recognise their own offspring ; and if necessary other 
nurses may also be hired. The trouble of watching and getting 
up at night will be transferred to attendants. ' Then the wives of 
our guardians will have a fine easy time when they are having 
children.' And quite right too, I said, that they should. 

The parents ought to be in the prime of life, which for a man 
may be reckoned at thirty years from twenty-five, when he 

461 has ' passed the point at which the speed of life is greatest,' 
to fifty-five ; and at twenty years for a woman from twenty to 
forty. Any one above or below those ages who partakes in 
the hymeneals shall be guilty of impiety ; also every one who 
forms a marriage connexion at other times without the consent 
of the rulers. This latter regulation applies to those who are 
within the specified ages, after which they may range at will; 
provided they avoid the prohibited degrees of parents and children, 
or of brothers and sisters, which last, however, are not absolutely 
prohibited, if a dispensation be procured. ' But how shall we 
know the degrees of affinity, when all things are common ? ' 
The answer is, that brothers and sisters are all such as are born 
seven or nine months after the espousals, and their parents those 

462 who are then espoused, and every one will have many children 
and every child many parents. 

Socrates proceeds : I have now to prove that this scheme is 
advantageous and also consistent with our entire polity. The 
greatest good of a State is unity ; the greatest evil, discord and 
distraction. And there will be unity where there are no private 
pleasures or pains or interests where if one member suffers 
all the members suffer, if one citizen is touched all are quickly 
sensitive ; and the least hurt to the little finger of the State runs 
through the whole body and vibrates to the soul. For the true 

Ixxiv Analysis 462-466. 

Republic State, like an individual, is injured as a whole when any part 
ANALYSIS * s an<ecte ^' Every State has subjects and rulers, who in a 463 
democracy are called rulers, and in other States masters : but in 
our State they are called saviours and allies; and the subjects 
who in other States are termed slaves, are by us termed nurturers 
and paymasters, and those who are termed comrades and 
colleagues in other places, are by us called fathers and brothers. 
And whereas in other States members of the same government 
regard one of their colleagues as a friend and another as an 
enemy, in our State no man is a stranger to another ; for every 
citizen is connected with every other by ties of blood, and these 
names and this way of speaking will have a corresponding 
reality brother, father, sister, mother, repeated from infancy in 
the ears of children, will not be mere words. Then again the 464 
citizens will have all things in common, and having common 
property they will have common pleasures and pains. 

Can there be strife and contention among those who are of 
one mind ; or lawsuits about property when men have nothing 
but their bodies which they call their own ; or suits about 
violence when every one is bound to defend himself? The 
permission to strike when insulted will be an ' antidote ' to 465 
the knife and will prevent disturbances in the State. But 
no younger man will strike an elder ; reverence will prevent 
him from laying hands on his kindred, and he will fear that the 
rest of the family may retaliate. Moreover, our citizens will be 
rid of the lesser evils of life ; there will be no flattery of the rich, 
no sordid household cares, no borrowing and not paying. Com- 
pared with the citizens of other States, ours will be Olympic 
victors, and crowned with blessings greater still they and their 
children having a better maintenance during life, and after death 
an honourable burial. Nor has the happiness of the individual 466 
been sacrificed to the happiness of the State (cp. iv. 419 E) ; our 
Olympic victor has not been turned into a cobbler, but he has 
a happiness beyond that of any cobbler. At the same time, if any 
conceited youth begins to dream of appropriating the State to 
himself, he must be reminded that ' half is better than the whole.' 
' I should certainly advise him to stay where he is when he has the 
promise of such a brave life.' 
- But is such a community possible ? as among the animals, so 

Analysis 466-469. Ixxv 

also among men ; and if possible, in what way possible ? About Republic 
war there is no difficulty; the principle of communism is adapted . ^ 
to military service. Parents will take their children to look on 

467 at a battle, just as potters' boys are trained to the business by 
looking on at the wheel. And to the parents themselves, as to 
other animals, the sight of their young ones will prove a great 
incentive to bravery. Young warriors must learn, but they must 
not run into danger, although a certain degree of risk is worth 
incurring when the benefit is great. The young creatures should 
be placed under the care of experienced veterans, and they should 
have wings that is to say, swift and tractable steeds on which 

468 they may fly away and escape. One of the first things to be done 
is to teach a youth to ride. 

Cowards and deserters shall be degraded to the class of 
husbandmen ; gentlemen who allow themselves to be taken 
prisoners, may be presented to the enemy. But what shall be 
done to the hero? First of all he shall be crowned by all the 
youths in the army ; secondly, he shall receive the right hand of 
fellowship ; and thirdly, do you think that there is any harm in 
his being kissed ? We have already determined that he shall 
have more wives than others, in order that he may have as many 
children as possible. And at a feast he shall have more to eat ; 
we have the authority of Homer for honouring brave men with 
' long chines,' which is an appropriate compliment, because meat 
is a very strengthening thing. Fill the bowl then, and give the 
best seats and meats to the brave may they do them good ! 
And he who dies in battle will be at once declared to be of the 
golden race, and will, as we believe, become one of Hesiod's 

469 guardian angels. He shall be worshipped after death in the 
manner prescribed by the oracle ; and not only he, but all other 
benefactors of the State who die in any other way, shall be 
admitted to the same honours. 

The next question is, How shall we treat our enemies ? Shall 
Hellenes be enslaved ? No ; for there is too great a risk of the 
whole race passing under the yoke of the barbarians. Or shall 
the dead be despoiled ? Certainly not ; for that sort of thing is an 
excuse for skulking, and has been the ruin of many an army* 
There is meanness and feminine malice in making an enemy 
of the dead body, when the soul which was the owner has fled 

Ixxvi Analysis 469-473. 

Republic like a dog who cannot reach his assailants, and quarrels with the 
ANALYSIS stones which are thrown at him instead. Again, the arms of 

Hellenes should not be offered up in the temples of the Gods ; they 470 
are a pollution, for they are taken from brethren. And on similar 
grounds there should be a limit to the devastation of Hellenic 
territory the houses should not be burnt, nor more than the 
annual produce carried off. For war is of two kinds, civil and 
foreign ; the first of which is properly termed c discord,' and only 
the second ' war ; ' and war between Hellenes is in reality civil 
War a quarrel in a family, which is ever to be regarded as 
unpatriotic and unnatural, and ought to be prosecuted with a view 47 * 
to reconciliation in a true phil-Hellenic spirit, as of those who 
would chasten but not utterly enslave. The war is not against 
a whole nation who are a friendly multitude of men, women, 
and children, but only against a few guilty persons ; when they 
are punished peace will be restored. That is the way in which 
Hellenes should war against one another and against barbarians, 
as they war against one another now. 

' But, my dear Socrates, you are forgetting the main question : 
Is such a State possible? I grant all and more than you say 
about the blessedness of being one family fathers, brothers, 
mothers, daughters, going out to war together ; but I want to 
ascertain the possibility of this ideal State.' You are too un- 472 
merciful. The first wave and the second wave I have hardly 
escaped, and now you will certainly drown me with the third. 
When you see the towering crest of the wave, I expect you to 
take pity. * Not a whit.' 

Well, then, we were led to form our ideal polity in the search 
after justice, and the just man answered to the just State. Is this 
ideal at all the worse for being impracticable ? Would the picture 
of a perfectly beautiful man be any the worse because no such 
man ever lived ? Can any reality come up to the idea ? Nature 
Will not allow words to be fully realized ; but if I am to try and 473 
realize the ideal of the State in a measure, I think that an 
approach may be made to the perfection of which I dream by one 
or two, I do not say slight, but possible changes in the present 
constitution of States. I would reduce them to a single one the 
great wave, as I call it. Until, then, kings are philosophers, or 
philosophers are kings, cities will never cease from ill ; no, nor the 

Analysis 473-477. Ixxvii 

human race; nor will our ideal polity ever come into being. I know Republic 
that this is a hard saying, which few will be able to receive. ANAL y SIS 
* Socrates, all the world will take off his coat and rush upon you 

474 with sticks and stones, and therefore I would advise you to 
prepare an answer.' You got me into the scrape, I said. * And 
I was right,' he replied ; ' however, I will stand by you as a sort 
of do-nothing, well-meaning ally.' Having the . help of such a 
champion, I will do my best to maintain my position. And first, \ 
must explain of whom I speak and what sort of natures these are who 
are to be philosophers and rulers. As you are a man of pleasure, 
you will not have forgotten how indiscriminate lovers are in their 
attachments ; they love all, and turn blemishes into beauties. The 
snub-nosed youth is said to have a winning grace ; the beak of 
another has a royal look; the featureless are faultless; the dark 
are manly, the fair angels ; the sickly have a new term of endear- 

475 ment invented expressly for them, which is ' honey-pale.' Lovers of 
wine and lovers of ambition also desire the objects of their affection 
in every form. Now here comes the point : The philosopher too is 
a lover of knowledge in every form ; he has an insatiable curiosity. 
' But will curiosity make a philosopher ? Are the lovers of sights, 
and sounds, who let out their ears to every chorus at the Dionysiac 
festivals, to be called philosophers ? ' They are not true philoso- 
phers, but only an imitation. * Then how are we to describe the. 

You would acknowledge the existence of abstract ideas, such as 

476 justice, beauty, good, evil, which are severally one, yet in their 
various combinations appear to be many. Those who recognize 
these realities are philosophers ; whereas the other class hear 
sounds and see colours, and understand their use in the arts, but 
cannot attain to the true or waking vision of absolute justice or 
beauty or truth ; they have not the light of knowledge, but of 
opinion, and what they see is a dream only. Perhaps he of 
whom we say the last will be angry with us; can we pacify 
him without revealing the disorder of his mind ? Suppose 
we say that, if he has knowledge we rejoice to hear it, but 
knowledge must be of something which is, as ignorance is of 

477 something which is not ; and there is a third thing, which both is 
and is not, and is matter of opinion only. Opinion and knowledge, 
then, having distinct objects, must also be distinct faculties. And 

Ixxviii Analysis 477-480. 

Republic by faculties I mean powers unseen and distinguishable only by the 
ANALYSIS din<erence m tne i r objects, as opinion and knowledge differ, since 
the one is liable to err, but the other is unerring and is the 
mightiest of all our faculties. If being is the object of knowledge, 
and not-being of ignorance, and these are the extremes, opinion 478 
must lie between them, and may be called darker than the one 
and brighter than the other. This intermediate or contingent 
matter is and is not at the same time, and partakes both of 
existence and of non-existence. Now I would ask my good 479 
friend, who denies abstract beauty and justice, and affirms a 
many beautiful and a many just, whether everything he sees 
is not in some point of view different the beautiful ugly, the 
pious impious, the just unjust ? Is not the double also the half, 
and are not heavy and light relative terms which pass into one 
another ? Everything is and is not, as in the old riddle ' A man 
and not a man shot and did not shoot a bird and not a bird with a 
stone and not a stone.' The mind cannot be fixed on either alterna- 
tive; and these ambiguous, intermediate, erring, half-lighted objects, 
which have a disorderly movement in the region between being 
and not-being, are the proper matter of opinion, as the immutable 480 
objects are the proper matter of knowledge. And he who grovels 
in the world of sense, and has only this uncertain perception of 
things, is not a philosopher, but a lover of opinion only. . . . 


INTRODUC- The fifth book is the new beginning of the Republic, in which 
the community of property and of family are first maintained, 
and the transition is made to the kingdom of philosophers. 
For both of these Plato, after his manner, has been preparing in 
some chance words of Book IV (424 A), which fall unperceived on 
the reader's mind, as they are supposed at first to have fallen on 
the ear of Glaucon and Adeimantus. The ( paradoxes,' as Morgen- 
stern terms them, of this book of the Republic will be reserved for 
another place ; a few remarks on the style, and some explanations 
of difficulties, may be briefly added. 

First, there is the image of the waves, which serves for a sort of 
scheme or plan of the book. The first wave, the second wave, the 
third and greatest wave come rolling in, and we hear the roar of 
them. All that can be said of the extravagance of Plato's proposals 
is anticipated by himself. Nothing is more admirable than the 

The ' table of affinities! Ixxix 

hesitation with which he proposes the solemn text, 'Until kings Republic 
are philosophers,' &c. ; or the reaction from the sublime to the TRODU 
ridiculous, when Glaucon describes the manner in which the new TION - 
truth will be received by mankind. 

Some defects and difficulties may be noted in the execution of 
the communistic plan. Nothing is told us of the application of 
communism to the lower classes ; nor is the table of prohibited 
degrees capable of being made out. It is quite possible that a 
child born at one hymeneal festival may marry one of its own 
brothers or sisters, or even one of its parents, at another. Plato is 
afraid of incestuous unions, but at the same time he does not wish 
to bring before us the fact that the city would be divided into families 
of those born seven and nine months after each hymeneal festival. 
If it were worth while to argue seriously about such fancies, we 
might remark that while all the old affinities are abolished, the 
newly prohibited affinity rests not on any natural or rational 
principle, but only upon the accident of children having been born 
in the same month and year. Nor does he explain how the lots 
could be so manipulated by the legislature as to bring together 
the fairest and best. The singular expression (460 E) which is 
employed to describe the age of five-and-twenty may perhaps 
be taken from some poet. 

In the delineation of the philosopher, the illustrations of the 
nature of philosophy derived from love are more suited to the 
apprehension of Glaucon, the Athenian man of pleasure, than to 
modern tastes or feelings (cp. V. 474, 475). They are partly facetious, 
but also contain a germ of truth. That science is a whole, remains 
a true principle of inductive as well as of metaphysical philosophy; 
and the love of universal knowledge is still the characteristic of 
the philosopher in modern as well as in ancient times. 

At the end of the fifth book Plato introduces the figment of con- 
tingent matter, which has exercised so great an influence both on 
the Ethics and Theology of the modern world, and which occurs 
here for the first time in the history of philosophy. He did not 
remark that the degrees of knowledge in the subject have nothing 
corresponding to them in the object. With him a word must 
answer to an idea ; and he could not conceive of an opinion which 
was an opinion about nothing. The influence of analogy led him 
to invent ' parallels and conjugates ' and to overlook facts. To us 

Ixxx Necessary confusion of ideas in Plato. 

Republic some of his difficulties are puzzling only from their simplicity ; we 
INTRO'DUO ^ not P erce ^ ve tnat tne answer to them ' is tumbling out at our 
TION. feet.' To the mind of early thinkers, the conception of not-being 
was dark and mysterious (Sophist, 254 A) ; they did not see that 
this terrible apparition which threatened destruction to all know- 
ledge was only a logical determination. The common term under 
which, through the accidental use of language, two entirely different 
ideas were included was another source of confusion. Thus 
through the ambiguity of doKclv, </>cuVrai, eotKei/, K.T.X. Plato, at- 
tempting to introduce order into the first chaos of human thought, 
seems to have confused perception and opinion, and to have 
failed to distinguish the contingent from the relative. In the 
Theaetetus the first of these difficulties begins to clear up ; in the 
Sophist the second ; and for this, as well as for other reasons, 
both these dialogues are probably to be regarded as later than the 

ANALYSIS. BOOK VI. Having determined that the many have no know- Steph. 
ledge of true being, and have no clear patterns in their minds of 
justice, beauty, truth, and that philosophers have such patterns, we 
have now to ask whether they or the many shall be rulers in our 
State. But who can doubt that philosophers should be chosen, if 
they have the other qualities which are required in a ruler ? For 485 
they are lovers of the knowledge of the eternal and of all truth ; 
they are 'haters of falsehood ; their meaner desires are absorbed in 
the interests of knowledge ; they are spectators of all time and all 
existence ; and in the magnificence of their contemplation the life 486 
of man is as nothing to them, nor is death fearful. Also they are 
of a social, gracious disposition, equally free from cowardice and 
arrogance. They learn and remember easily; they have har- 
monious, well-regulated minds ; truth flows to them sweetly by 
nature. Can the god of Jealousy himself find any fault with such 487 
an assemblage of good qualities ? 

Here Adeimantus interposes : ' No man can answer you, 
Socrates ; but every man feels that this is owing to his own 
deficiency in argument. He is driven from one position to 
another, until he has nothing more to say, just as an un- 
skilful player at draughts is reduced to his last move by a 
more skilled opponent. And yet all the time he may be right- 

Analysis 487-490. Ixxxi 

He may know, in this very instance, that those who make Republic 
philosophy the business of their lives, generally turn out rogues if 
they are bad men, and fools if they are good. What do you say ? ' 
I should say that he is quite right. 'Then how is such an ad- 
mission reconcileable with the doctrine that philosophers should 
be kings ? ' 

488 I shall answer you in a parable which will also let you see how 
poor a hand I am at the invention of allegories. The relation of 
good men to their governments is so peculiar, that in order to 
defend them I must take an illustration from the world of fiction. 
Conceive the captain of a ship, taller by a head and shoulders than 
any of the crew, yet a little deaf, a little blind, and rather ignorant 
of the seaman's art. The sailors want to steer, although they 
know nothing of the art ; and they have a theory that it cannot 
be learned. If the helm is refused them, they drug the captain's 
posset, bind him hand and foot, and take possession of the ship. 
He who joins in the mutiny is termed a good pilot and what not ; % 
they have no conception that the true pilot must observe the 
winds and the stars, and must be their master, whether they like 
it or not; such an one would be called by them fool, prater, 

^89 star-gazer. This is my parable ; which I will beg you to interpret 
for me to those gentlemen who ask why the philosopher has such 
an evil name, and to explain to them that not he, but those who will 
not use him, are to blame for his uselessness. The philosopher 
should not beg of mankind to be put in authority over them. The 
wise man should not seek the rich, as the proverb bids, but every 
man, whether rich or poor, must knock at the door of the physician 
when he has need of him. Now the pilot is the philosopher he 
whom in the parable they call star-gazer, and the mutinous sailors 
are the mob of politicians by whom he is rendered useless. Not 
that these are the worst enemies of philosophy, who is far more 
dishonoured by her own professing sons when they are corrupted 

^90 by the world. Need I recall the original image of the philosopher ? 
Did we not say of him just now, that he loved truth and hated 
falsehood, and that he could not rest in the multiplicity of pheno- 
mena, but was led by a sympathy in his own nature to the 
contemplation of the absolute ? All the virtues as well as truth, 
who is the leader of them, took up their abode in his soul. But as 
you were observing, ii we turn aside to view the reality, we see 


Ixxxii Analysis 490-493. 

Republic that the persons who were thus described, with the exception of a 


small and useless class, are utter rogues. 

The point which has to be considered, is the origin of this 
corruption in nature. Every one will admit that the philosopher, 491 
in our description of him, is a rare being. But what numberless 
causes tend to destroy these rare beings ! There is no good 
thing which may not be a cause of evil health, wealth, strength, 
rank, and the virtues themselves, when placed under unfavourable 
circumstances. For as in the animal or vegetable world the 
strongest seeds most need the accompaniment of good air and soil, 
so the best of human characters turn out the worst when they fall 
upon an unsuitable soil ; whereas weak natures hardly ever do 
any considerable good or harm ; they are not the stuff out of which 
either great criminals or great heroes are made. The philosopher 492 
follows the same analogy : he is either the best or the worst of all 
men. Some persons say that the Sophists are the corrupters of 
youth ; but is not public opinion the real Sophist who is every- 
where present in those very persons, in the assembly, in the 
courts, in the camp, in the applauses and hisses of the theatre re- 
echoed by the surrounding hills ? Will not a young man's heart 
leap amid these discordant sounds ? and will any education save 
him from being carried away by the torrent ? Nor is this all. For 
if he will not yield to opinion, there follows the gentle compulsion 
of exile or death. What principle of rival Sophists or anybody 
else can overcome in such an unequal contest ? Characters there 
may be more than human, who are exceptions God may save a 493 
man, but not his own strength. Further, I would have you 
consider that the hireling Sophist only gives back to the world 
their own opinions ; he is the keeper of the monster, who knows 
how to flatter or anger him, and observes the meaning of his 
inarticulate grunts. Good is what pleases him, evil what he 
dislikes ; truth and beauty are determined only by the taste of the 
brute. Such is the Sophist's wisdom, and such is the condition 
of those who make public opinion the test of truth, whether in art 
or in morals. The curse is laid upon them of being and doing 
what it approves, and when they attempt first principles the 
failure is ludicrous. Think of all this and ask yourself whether the 
world is more likely to be a believer in the unity of the idea, or in 
the multiplicity of phenomena. And the world if not a believer 

Analysis 494-497. Ixxxiii 

194 in the idea cannot be a philosopher, and must therefore be a Republic 
persecutor of philosophers. There is another evil : the world 
does not like to lose the gifted nature, and so they flatter the 
young [Alcibiades] into a magnificent opinion of his own capacity; 
the tall, proper youth begins to expand, and is dreaming of 
kingdoms and empires. If at this instant a friend whispers to him, 
' Now the gods lighten thee ; thou art a great fool ' and must be 
educated do you think that he will listen ? Or suppose a better^ 
sort of man who is attracted towards philosophy, will they not 

1-95 make Herculean efforts to spoil and corrupt him? Are we not 
right in saying that the love of knowledge, no less than riches, may 
divert him ? Men of this class [Critias] often become politicians 
they are the authors of great mischief in states, and sometimes 
also of great good. And thus philosophy is deserted by her 
natural protectors, and others enter in and dishonour her. Vulgar 
little minds see the land open and rush from the prisons of the 
arts into her temple. A clever mechanic having a soul coarse as 
his body, thinks that he will gain caste by becoming her suitor. 
For philosophy, even in her fallen estate, has a dignity of her own 
and he, like a bald little blacksmith's apprentice as he is, having 
made some money and got out of durance, washes and dresses 

196 himself as a bridegroom and marries his master's daughter. What 
will be the issue of such marriages ? Will they not be vile and 
bastard, devoid of truth and nature ? ' They will.' Small, then, is 
the remnant of genuine philosophers ; there may be a few who 
are citizens of small states, in which politics are not worth thinking 
of, or who have been detained by Theages' bridle of ill health ; for 
my own case of the oracular sign is almost unique, and too rare 
to be worth mentioning. And these few when they have tasted 
the pleasures of philosophy, and have taken a look at that den of 
thieves and place of wild beasts, which is human life, will stand 
aside from the storm under the shelter of a wall, and try to 
preserve their own innocence and to depart in peace. * A great 
work, too, will have been accomplished by them.' Great, yes, but 
not the greatest ; for man is a social being, and can only attain his 
highest development in the society which is best suited to him. 

497 Enough, then, of the causes why philosophy has such an evil 
name. Another question is, Which of existing states is suited 
to her ? Not one of them ; at present she is like some exotic seed 

Ixxxiv Analysis 497-499. 

Republic which degenerates in a strange soil ; only in her proper state will 

ANALYSIS s ^ e ^ e shown to be f heavenly growth. ' And is her proper state 

ours or some other ? ' Ours in all points but one, which was left 

undetermined. You may remember our saying that some living 

mind or witness of the legislator was needed in states. But we 

were afraid to enter upon a subject of such difficulty, and now 

the question recurs and has not grown easier : How may philo- 

^sophy be safely studied ? Let us bring her into the light of day, 

and make an end of the inquiry. 

In the first place, I say boldly that nothing can be worse than 
the present mode of study. Persons usually pick up a little 498 
philosophy in early youth, and in the intervals of business, but 
they never master the real difficulty, which is dialectic. Later, 
perhaps, they occasionally go to a lecture on philosophy. Years 
advance, and the sun of philosophy, unlike that of Heracleitus, 
sets never to rise again. This order of education should be re- 
versed ; it should begin with gymnastics in youth, and as the 
man strengthens, he should increase the gymnastics of his soul. 
Then, when active life is over, let him finally return to philosophy. 
'You are in earnest, Socrates, but the world will be equally 
earnest in withstanding you no one more than Thrasymachus.' 
Do not make a quarrel between Thrasymachus and me, who were 
never enemies and are now good friends enough. And I shall do 
my best to convince him and all mankind of the truth of my words, 
or at any rate to prepare for the future when, in another life, we 
may again take part in similar discussions. * That will be a long 
time hence/ Not long in comparison with eternity. The many 
will probably remain incredulous, for they have never seen the 
natural unity of ideas, but only artificial juxtapositions; not 
free and generous thoughts, but tricks of controversy and quips 
of law ; a perfect man ruling in a perfect state, even a single 499 
one they have not known. And we foresaw that there was no 
chance of perfection either in states or individuals until a ne- 
cessity was laid upon philosophers not the rogues, but those 
whom we called the useless class of holding office ; or until 
the sons of kings were inspired with a true love of philosophy. 
Whether in the infinity of past time there has been, or is in 
some distant land, or ever will be hereafter, an ideal such as we 
have described, we stoutly maintain that there has been, is, and 

Analysis 499-502. Ixxxv 

will be such a state whenever the Muse of philosophy rules. Republic 


500 Will you say that the world is of another mind ? O, my friend, 

do not revile the world ! They will soon change their opinion 
if they are gently entreated, and are taught the true nature of the 
philosopher. Who can hate a man who loves him ? or be jealous 
of one who has no jealousy? Consider, again, that the many 
hate not the true but the false philosophers the pretenders who 
force their way in without invitation, and are always speaking 
of persons and not of principles, which is unlike the spirit of 
philosophy. For the true philosopher despises earthly strife ; 
his eye is fixed on the eternal order in accordance with which 
he moulds himself into the Divine image (and not himself only, 
but other men), and is the creator of the virtues private as well as 
public. When mankind see that the happiness of states is only 
to be found in that image, will they be angry with us for attempt- 
ing to delineate it ? ' Certainly not. But what will be the process 

;oi of delineation ? ' The artist will do nothing until he has made 
a tabula rasa ; on this he will inscribe the constitution of a state, 
glancing often at the divine truth of nature, and from that deriving 
the godlike among men, mingling the two elements, rubbing out 
and painting in, until there is a perfect harmony or fusion of 
the divine and human. But perhaps the world will doubt the 
existence of such an artist. What will they doubt? That the 
philosopher is a lover of truth, having a nature akin to the best ? 
and if they admit this will they still quarrel with us for making 
philosophers our kings ? ' They will be less disposed to quarrel.' 

;o2 Let us assume then that they are pacified. Still, a person may 
hesitate about the probability of the son of a king being a philo- 
sopher. And we do not deny that they are very liable to be 
corrupted ; but yet surely in the course of ages there might be 
one exception and one is enough. If one son of a king were 
a philosopher, and had obedient citizens, he might bring the ideal 
polity into being. Hence we conclude that our laws are not 
only the best, but that they are also possible, though not free from 

I gained nothing by evading the troublesome questions which 
arose concerning women and children. I will be wiser now 
and acknowledge that we must go to the bottom of another 
question : What is to be the education of our guardians ? It was 

Ixxxvi Analysis 503-506. 

Republic agreed that they were to be lovers of their country, and were 503 
ANALY* to ^ e testec ^ m tne refiner's fire of pleasures and pains, and those 
who came forth pure and remained fixed in their principles were 
to have honours and rewards in life and after death. But at this 
point, the argument put on her veil and turned into another path. 
I hesitated to make the assertion which I now hazard, that our 
guardians must be philosophers. You remember all the contra- 
dictory elements, which met in the philosopher how difficult to 
find them all in a single person ! Intelligence and spirit are not 
often combined with steadiness; the stolid, fearless, nature is 
averse to intellectual toil. And yet these opposite elements are 
all necessary, and therefore, as we were saying before, the 
aspirant must be tested in pleasures and dangers ; and also, as 
we must now further add, in the highest branches of knowledge. 504 
You will remember, that when we spoke of the virtues mention 
was made of a longer road, which you were satisfied to leave 
unexplored. 'Enough seemed to have been said.' Enough, my 
friend ; but what is enough while anything remains wanting ? 
Of all men the guardian must not faint in the search after truth ; 
he must be prepared to take the longer road, or he will never 
reach that higher region which is above the four virtues ; and of 
the virtues too he must not only get an outline, but a clear and 
distinct vision. (Strange that we should be so precise about 
trifles, so careless about the highest truths!) 'And what are 
the highest ? ' You to pretend unconsciousness, when you have 505 
so often heard me speak of the idea of good, about which we 
know so little, and without which though a man gain the world 
he has no profit of it ! Some people imagine that the good is 
wisdom ; but this involves a circle, the good, they say, is wisdom, 
wisdom has to do with the good. According to others the good is 
pleasure ; but then comes the absurdity that good is bad, for there 
are bad pleasures as well as good. Again, the good must have 
reality ; a man may desire the appearance of virtue, but he will 
not desire the appearance of good. Ought our guardians then 
to be ignorant of this supreme principle, of which every man 506 
has a presentiment, and without which no man has any real 
knowledge of anything? 'But, Socrates, what is this supreme 
principle, knowledge or pleasure, or what? You may think me 
troublesome, but I say that you have no business to be always 

Analysis 506-509. Ixxxvii 

repeating the doctrines of others instead of giving us your own.' Republic 
Can I say what I do not know? 'You may offer an opinion.' 


And will the blindness and crookedness of opinion content you 
when you might have the light and certainty of science ? ' I will 
only ask you to give such an explanation of the good as you have 
given already of temperance and justice.' I wish that I could, but 
in my present mood I cannot reach to the height of the knowledge 

507 of the good. To the parent or principal I cannot introduce you, 
but to the child begotten in his image, which I may compare with 
the interest on the principal, I will. (Audit the account, and do 
not let me give you a false statement of the debt.) You remember 
our old distinction of the many beautiful and the one beautiful, 
the particular and the universal, the objects of sight and the 
objects of thought? Did you ever consider that the objects of 
sight imply a faculty of sight which is the most complex and 
costly of our senses, requiring not only objects of sense, but also 
a medium, which is light ; without which the sight will not distin- 

508 guish between colours and all will be a blank ? For light is 
the noble bond between the perceiving faculty and the thing 
perceived, and the god who gives us light is the sun, who is 
the eye of the .day, but is not to be confounded with the eye 
of man. This eye of the day or sun is what I call the child 
of the good, standing in the same relation to the visible world 
as the good to the intellectual. When the sun shines the eye 
sees, and in the intellectual world where truth is, there is sight 
and light. Now that which is the sun of intelligent natures, 
is the idea of good, the cause of knowledge and truth, yet 

509 other and fairer than they are, and standing in the same relation 
to them in which the sun stands to light. O inconceivable 
height of beauty, which is above knowledge and above truth ! 
('You cannot surely mean pleasure,' he said. Peace, I replied.) 
And this idea of good, like the sun, is also the cause of growth, 
and the author not of knowledge only, but of being, yet greater 
far than either in dignity and power. ' That is a reach of thought 
more than human ; but, pray, go on with the image, for I suspect 
that there is more behind.' There is, I said ; and bearing in mind 
our two suns or principles, imagine further their corresponding 
worlds one of the visible, the other of the intelligible ; you may 
assist your fancy by figuring the distinction under the image 

Ixxxviii Analysis 509-511. 

Republic of a line divided into two unequal parts, and may again subdivide 
ANA ' each part into two lesser segments representative of the stages of 
knowledge in either sphere. The lower portion of the lower or 
visible sphere will consist of shadows and reflections, and its 510 
upper and smaller portion will contain real objects in the world 
of nature or of art. The sphere of the intelligible will also 
have two divisions, one of mathematics, in which there is no 
ascent but all is descent ; no inquiring into premises, but only 
drawing of inferences. In this division the mind works with 
figures and numbers, the images of which are taken not from 
the shadows, but from the objects, although the truth of them is 
seen only with the mind's eye ; and they are used as hypotheses 
without being analysed. Whereas in the other division reason 511 
uses the hypotheses as stages or steps in the ascent to the idea of 
good, to which she fastens them, and then again descends, walking 
firmly in the region of ideas, and of ideas only, in her ascent as 
well as descent, and finally resting in them,. 'I partly under- 
stand,' he replied ; ' you mean that the ideas of science are 
superior to the hypothetical, metaphorical conceptions of geometry 
and the other arts or sciences, whichever is to be the name of 
them ; and the latter conceptions you refuse to make subjects of 
pure intellect, because they have no first principle, although when 
resting on a first principle, they pass into the higher sphere.' 
You understand me very well, I said. And now to those four 
divisions of knowledge you may assign four corresponding 
faculties pure intelligence to the highest sphere ; active intelli- 
gence to the second ; to the third, faith ; to the fourth, the 
perception of shadows and the clearness of the several faculties 
will be in the same ratio as the truth of the objects to which they 
are related 

INTRODUC- Like Socrates, we may recapitulate the virtues of the philo- 
sopher. In language which seems to reach beyond the horizon 
of that age and country, he is described as * the spectator of all 
time and all existence.' He has the noblest gifts of nature, and 
makes the highest use of them. All his desires are absorbed 
in the love of wisdom, which is the love of truth. None of the 
graces of a beautiful soul are wanting in him ; neither can he 
fear death, or think much of human life. The ideal of modern 

Portrait of the Philosopher, Ixxxix 

times hardly retains the simplicity of the antique ; there is not the Republic 
same originality either in truth or error which characterized the INTBOD ' UC . 
Greeks. The philosopher is no longer living in the unseen, nor TION - 
is he sent by an oracle to convince mankind of ignorance ; nor 
does he regard knowledge as a system of ideas leading upwards 
by regular stages to the idea of good. The eagerness of the 
pursuit has abated ; there is more division of labour and less of 
comprehensive reflection upon nature and human life as a whole ; 
more of exact observation and less of anticipation and inspiration. 
Still, in the altered conditions of knowledge, the parallel is not 
wholly lost ; and there may be a use in translating the conception 
of Plato into the language of our own age. The philosopher in 
modern times is one who fixes his mind on the laws of nature in 
their sequence and connexion, not on fragments or pictures of 
nature ; on history, not on controversy; on the truths which are 
acknowledged by the few, not on the opinions of the many. He is 
aware of the importance of ' classifying according to nature,' and 
will try to ' separate the limbs of science without breaking them ' 
(Phaedr. 265 E). There is no part of truth, whether great or 
small, which he will dishonour ; and in the least things he will 
discern the greatest (Parmen. 130 C). Like the ancient philoso- 
pher he sees the world pervaded by analogies, but he can also 
tell 'why in some cases a single instance is sufficient for an 
induction ' (Mill's Logic, 3, 3, 3), while in other cases a thousand 
examples would prove nothing. He inquires into a portion of 
knowledge only, because the whole has grown too vast to be 
embraced by a single mind or life. He has a clearer concep- 
tion of the divisions of science and of their relation to the mind 
of man than was possible to the ancients. Like Plato, he has a 
vision of the unity of knowledge, not as the beginning of philo- 
sophy to be attained by a study of elementary mathematics, but 
as the far-off result of the working of many minds in many ages. 
He is aware that mathematical studies are preliminary to almost 
every other ; at the same time, he will not reduce all varieties of 
knowledge to the type of mathematics. He too must have a 
nobility of character, without which genius loses the better half 
of greatness. Regarding the world as a point in immensity, and 
each individual as a link in a never-ending chain of existence, he 
will not think much of his own life, or be greatly afraid of death. 

xc The Criticism of Adeimantus. 

Republic Adeimantus objects first of all to the form of the Socratic 
INTRODUC- reasonm g> thus showing that Plato is aware of the imperfection 
TION. O f hi s own me thod. He brings the accusation against himself 
which might be brought against him by a modern logician that 
he extracts the answer because he knows how to put the ques- 
tion. In a long argument words are apt to change their meaning 
slightly, or premises may be assumed or conclusions inferred with 
rather too much certainty or universality; the variation at each 
step may be unobserved, and yet at last the divergence becomes 
considerable. Hence the failure of attempts to apply arithmetical 
or algebraic formulae to logic. The imperfection, or rather the 
higher and more elastic nature of language, does not allow words 
to have the precision of numbers or of symbols. And this quality 
in language impairs the force of an argument which has many 

The objection, though fairly met by Socrates in this particular 
instance, may be regarded as implying a reflection upon the 
Socratic mode of reasoning. And here, as at p. 506 B, Plato 
seems to intimate that the time had come when the negative 
and interrogative method of Socrates must be superseded by a 
positive and constructive one, of which examples are given in 
some of the later dialogues. Adeimantus further argues that the 
ideal is wholly at variance with facts ; for experience proves 
philosophers to be either useless or rogues. Contrary to all 
expectation (cp. p. 497 for a similar surprise) Socrates has no 
hesitation in admitting the truth of this, and explains the anomaly 
in an allegory, first characteristically depreciating his own in- 
ventive powers. In this allegory the people are distinguished 
from the professional politicians, and, as at pp. 499, 500, are 
spoken of in a tone of pity rather than of censure under the 
image of 'the noble captain who is not very quick in his per- 

The uselessness of philosophers is explained by the circum- 
stance that mankind will not use them. The world in all ages 
has been divided between contempt and fear of those who employ 
the power of ideas and know no other weapons. Concerning the 
false philosopher, Socrates argues that the best is most liable to 
corruption ; and that the finer nature is more likely to suffer 
from alien conditions. We too observe that there are some kinds 

The paradoxical reply of Socrates. xci 

of excellence which spring from a peculiar delicacy of consti- Republic 
tution ; as is evidently true of the poetical and imaginative tern- 
perament, which often seems to depend on impressions, and 
hence can only breathe or live in a certain atmosphere. The 
man of genius has greater pains and greater pleasures, greater 
powers and greater weaknesses, and often a greater play of 
character than is to be found in ordinary men. He can assume 
the disguise of virtue or disinterestedness without having them, 
or veil personal enmity in the language of patriotism and philo- 
sophy, he can say the word which all men are thinking, he has 
an insight which is terrible into the follies and weaknesses of his 
fellow-men. An Alcibiades, a Mirabeau, or a Napoleon the 
First, are born either to be the authors of great evils in states, 
or * of great good, when they are drawn in that direction.' 

Yet the thesis, ' corruptio optimi pessima,' cannot be maintained 
generally or without regard to the kind of excellence which is 
corrupted. The alien conditions which are corrupting to one 
nature, may be the elements of culture to another. In general 
a man can only receive his highest development in a congenial 
state or family, among friends or fellow-workers. But also he 
may sometimes be stirred by adverse circumstances to such a 
degree that he rises up against them and reforms them. And 
while weaker or coarser characters will extract good out of evil, 
say in a corrupt state of the church or of society, and live on 
happily, allowing the evil to remain, the finer or stronger natures 
may be crushed or spoiled by surrounding influences may be- 
come misanthrope and philanthrope by turns ; or in a few 
instances, like the founders of the monastic orders, or the Re- 
formers, owing to some peculiarity in themselves or in their age, 
may break away entirely from the world and from the church, 
sometimes into great good, sometimes into great evil, sometimes 
into both. And the same holds in the lesser sphere of a convent, 
a school, a family. 

Plato would have us consider how easily the best natures are 
overpowered by public opinion, and what efforts the rest of man- 
kind will make to get possession of them. The world, the 
church, their own profession, any political or party organization, 
are always carrying them off their legs and teaching them to 
apply high and holy names to their own prejudices and interests. 

xcu The better mind of the many. 

Republic The 'monster' corporation to which they belong judges right 
and truth to be the pleasure of the community. The individual 

TION, becomes one with his order ; or, if he resists, the world is too 

much for him, and will sooner or later be revenged on him. 
This is, perhaps, a one-sided but not wholly untrue picture of the 
maxims and practice of mankind when they 'sit down together 
at an assembly,' either in ancient or modern times. 

When the higher natures are corrupted by politics, the lower 
take possession of the vacant place of philosophy. This is de- 
scribed in one of those continuous images in which the argument, 
to use a Platonic expression, ' veils herself,' and which is dropped 
and reappears at intervals. The question is asked, Why are 
the citizens of states so hostile to philosophy ? The answer is, 
that they do not know her. And. yet there is also a better mind 
of the many; they would believe if they were taught. But 
hitherto they have only known a conventional imitation of philo- 
sophy, words without thoughts, systems which have no life in 
them ; a [divine] person uttering the words of beauty and free- 
dom, the friend of man holding communion with the Eternal, 
and seeking to frame the state in that image, they have never 
known. The same double feeling respecting the mass of man* 
kind has always existed among men. The first thought is that 
the people are the enemies of truth and right ; the second, that 
this only arises out of an accidental error and confusion, and that 
they do not really hate those who love them, if they could be 
educated to know them. 

In the latter part of the sixth book, three questions have to be 
considered : ist, the nature of the longer and more circuitous 
way, which is contrasted with the shorter and more imperfect 
method of Book IV; and, the heavenly pattern or idea of the 
state ; 3rd, the relation of the divisions of knowledge to one 
another and to the corresponding faculties of the soul. 

i. Of the higher method of knowledge in Plato we have only a 
glimpse. Neither here nor in the Phaedrus or Symposium, nor 
yet in the Philebus or Sophist, does he give any clear explanation 
of his meaning. He would probably have described his method 
as proceeding by regular steps to a system of universal know- 
ledge, which inferred the parts from the whole rather than the 
whole from the parts. This ideal logic is not practised by him 

The better and longer way. xciii 

in the search after justice, or in the analysis of the parts of the Republic 
soul ; there, like Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, he argues 
from experience and the common use of language. But at the 
end of the sixth book he conceives another and more perfect 
method, in which all ideas are only steps or grades or moments 
of thought, forming a connected whole which is self-supporting, 
and in which consistency is the test of truth. He does not 
explain to us in detail the nature of the process. Like many 
other thinkers both in ancient and modern times his mind seems 
to be filled with a vacant form which he is unable to realize. He 
supposes the sciences to have a natural order and connexion in 
an age when they can hardly be said to exist. He is hastening 
on to the ' end of the intellectual world ' without even making a 
beginning of them. 

In modern times we hardly need to be reminded that the 
process of acquiring knowledge is here confused with the con- 
templation of absolute knowledge. In all science a priori and 
a posteriori truths mingle in various proportions. The a priori 
part is that which is derived from the most universal experience 
of men, or is universally accepted by them ; the a posteriori is 
that which grows up around the more general principles and 
becomes imperceptibly one with them. But Plato erroneously 
imagines that the synthesis is separable from the analysis, and 
that the method of science can anticipate science. In entertaining 
such a vision of a priori knowledge he is sufficiently justified, 
or at least his meaning may be sufficiently explained by the 
similar attempts of Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and even of Bacon 
himself, in modern philosophy. Anticipations or divinations, or 
prophetic glimpses of truths whether concerning man or nature, 
seem to stand in the same relation to ancient philosophy which 
hypotheses bear to modern inductive science. These ( guesses 
at truth ' were not made at random ; they arose from a superficial 
impression of uniformities and first principles in nature which 
the genius of the Greek, contemplating the expanse of heaven and 
earth, seemed to recognize in the distance. Nor can we deny 
that in ancient times knowledge must have stood still, and the 
human mind been deprived of the very instruments of thought, 
if philosophy had been strictly confined to the results of ex- 

xciv The confusion of ideas and numbers. 

Republic 2. Plato supposes that when the tablet has been made blank the 
artist will fill in the lineaments of the ideal state. Is this a pattern 

TION, laid up in heaven, or mere vacancy on which he is supposed to 

gaze with wondering eye? The answer is, that such ideals are 
framed partly by the omission of particulars, partly by imagina- 
tion perfecting the form which experience supplies (Phaedo, 74). 
Plato represents these ideals in a figure as belonging to another 
world ; and in modern times the idea will sometimes seem to 
precede, at other times to co-operate with the hand of the artist. 
As in science, so also in creative art, there is a synthetical as well 
as an analytical method. One man will have the whole in his 
mind before he begins; to another the processes of mind and 
hand will be simultaneous. 

3. There is no difficulty in seeing that Plato's divisions of 
knowledge are based, first, on the fundamental antithesis of 
sensible and intellectual which pervades the whole pre-Socratic 
philosophy ; in which is implied also the opposition of the per- 
manent and transient, of the universal and particular. But the 
age of philosophy in which he lived seemed to require a further 
distinction ; numbers and figures were beginning to separate 
from ideas. The world could no longer regard justice as a cube, 
and was learning to see, though imperfectly, that the abstractions 
of sense were distinct from the abstractions of mind. Between 
the Eleatic being or essence and the shadows of phenomena, 
the Pythagorean principle of number found a place, and was, 
as Aristotle remarks, a conducting medium from one to the other. 
Hence Plato is led to introduce a third term which had not 
hitherto entered into the scheme of his philosophy. He had ob- 
served the use of mathematics in education ; they were the best 
preparation for higher studies. The subjective relation between 
them further suggested an objective one; although the passage 
from one to the other is really imaginary (Metaph. i, 6, 4). For 
metaphysical and moral philosophy has no connexion with mathe- 
matics ; number and figure are the abstractions of time and space, 
not the expressions of purely intellectual conceptions. When 
divested of metaphor, a straight line or a square has no more 
to do with right and justice than a crooked line with vice. The 
figurative association was mistaken for a real one ; and thus the 
three latter divisions of the Platonic proportion were constructed. 

The correlation of the faculties. xcv 

There is more difficulty in comprehending how he arrived at Republic 
the first term of the series, which is nowhere else mentioned, INTRO O UC 
and has no reference to any other part of his system. Nor indeed TION - 
does the relation of shadows to objects correspond to the relation 
of numbers to ideas. Probably Plato has been led by the love 
of analogy (cp. Timaeus, p. 32 B) to make four terms instead of 
three, although the objects perceived in both divisions of the 
lower sphere are equally objects of sense. He is also preparing 
the way, as his manner is, for the shadows of images at the begin- 
ning of the seventh book, and the imitation of an imitation in 
the tenth. The line may be regarded as reaching from unity 
to infinity, and is divided into two unequal parts, and subdivided 
into two more; each lower sphere is the multiplication of the 
preceding. Of the four faculties, faith in the lower division has an 
intermediate position (cp. for the use of the word faith or belief, 
Tn'o-ris, Timaeus, 29 C, 37 B), contrasting equally with the vagueness 
of the perception of shadows (ei/cao-t'a) and the higher certainty of 
understanding (dtavoia) and reason (i/ous). 

The difference between understanding and mind or reason 
(vovs) is analogous to the difference between acquiring know- 
ledge in the parts and the contemplation of the whole. True 
knowledge is a whole, and is at rest ; consistency and universality 
are the tests of truth. To this self-evidencing knowledge of the 
whole the faculty of mind is supposed to correspond. But there 
is a knowledge of the understanding which is incomplete and 
in motion always, because unable to rest in the subordinate ideas. 
Those ideas are called both images and hypotheses images 
because they are clothed in sense, hypotheses because they are 
assumptions only, until they are brought into connexion with the 
idea of good. 

The general meaning of the passage 508-511, so far as the 
thought contained in it admits of being translated into the terms of 
modern philosophy, may be described or explained as follows : 
There is a truth, one and self-existent, to which by the help of 
a ladder let down from above, the human intelligence may ascend. 
This unity is like the sun in the heavens, the light by which 
all things are seen, the being by which they are created and 
sustained. It is the idea of good. And the steps of the ladder 
leading up to this highest or universal existence are the mathe- 

xcvi The idea of good, etc. 

Republic matical sciences, which also contain in themselves an element 

INTRODUC- ^ ^ universal. These, too, we see in a new manner when we 

no*, connect them with the idea of good. They then cease to be 

hypotheses or pictures, and become essential parts of a higher 

truth which is at once their first principle and their final cause. 

We cannot give any more precise meaning to this remarkable 
passage, but we may trace in it several rudiments or vestiges 
of thought which are common to us and to Plato : such as (i) the 
unity and correlation of the sciences, or rather of science, for in 
Plato's time they were not yet parted off or distinguished ; (2) the 
existence of a Divine Power, or life or idea or cause or reason, 
not yet conceived or no longer conceived as in the Timaeus and 
elsewhere under the form of a person ; (3) the recognition of 
the hypothetical and conditional character of the mathematical 
sciences, and in a measure of every science when isolated from 
the rest; (4) the conviction of a truth which is invisible, and 
of a law, though hardly a law of nature, which permeates the 
intellectual rather than the visible world. 

The method of Socrates is hesitating and tentative, awaiting the 
fuller explanation of the idea of good, and of the nature of dialectic 
in the seventh book. The imperfect intelligence of Glaucon, and 
the reluctance of Socrates to make a beginning, mark the difficulty 
of the subject. The allusion to Theages' bridle, and to the 
internal oracle, or demonic sign, of Socrates, which here, as 
always in Plato, is only prohibitory ; the remark that the salva- 
tion of any remnant of good in the present evil state of the 
world is due to God only; the reference to a future state of 
existence, 498 D, which is unknown to Glaucon in the tenth 
book, 608 D, and in which the discussions of Socrates and his 
disciples would be resumed ; the surprise in the answers at 487 E 
and 497 B ; the fanciful irony of Socrates, where he pretends 
that he can only describe the strange position of the philo- 
sopher in a figure of speech ; the original observation that the 
Sophists, after all, are only the representatives and not the 
leaders of public opinion ; the picture of the philosopher standing 
aside in the shower of sleet under a wall; the figure of 'the 
great beast ' followed by the expression of good-will towards the 
common people who would not have rejected the philosopher 
if they had known him ; the 'right noble thought' that the highest 

The Idea of Good. xcvii 

truths demand the greatest exactness ; the hesitation of Socrates Republic 
in returning once more to his well-worn theme of the idea of 


good ; the ludicrous earnestness of Glaucon ; the comparison of ON. 
philosophy to a deserted maiden who marries beneath her are 
some of the most interesting characteristics of the sixth book. 

Yet a few more words may be added, on the old theme, which 
was so oft discussed in the Socratic circle, of which we, like 
Glaucon and Adeimantus, would fain, if possible, have a clearer 
notion. Like them, we are dissatisfied when we are told that 
the idea of good can only be revealed to a student of the mathe- 
matical sciences, and we are inclined to think that neither we 
nor they could have been led along that path to any satisfactory 
goal. For we have learned that differences of quantity cannot 
pass into differences of quality, and that the mathematical sciences 
can never rise above themselves into the sphere of our higher 
thoughts, although they may sometimes furnish symbols and 
expressions of them, and may train the mind in habits of abstrac- 
tion and self-concentration. The illusion which was natural to 
an ancient philosopher has ceased to be an illusion to us. But 
if the process by which we are supposed to arrive at the idea 
of good be really imaginary, may not the idea itself be also a 
mere abstraction? We remark, first, that in all ages, and 
especially in primitive philosophy, words such as being, essence, 
unity, good, have exerted an extraordinary influence over the 
minds of men. The meagreness or negativeness of their content 
has been in an inverse ratio to their power. They have become 
the forms under which all things were comprehended. There 
was a need or instinct in the human soul which they satisfied; 
they were not ideas, but gods, and to this new mythology the men 
of a later generation began to attach the powers and associations 
of the elder deities. 

The idea of good is one of those sacred words or forms of 
thought, which were beginning to take the place of the old 
mythology. It meant unity, in which all time and all existence 
were gathered up. It was the truth of all things, and also the light 
in which they shone forth, and became evident to intelligences 
human and divine. It was the cause of all things, the power by 
which they were brought into being. It was the universal reason 
divested of a human personality. It was the life as well as the 


xcviii The Idea of Good. 

Republic light of the world, all knowledge and all power were compre- 

INTR<>DUC Bended * n ** The wa y to ^ was through the mathematical 

"ON. sciences, and these too were dependent on it. To ask whether 

God was the maker of it, or made by it, would be like asking 

whether God could be conceived apart from goodness, or goodness 

apart from God. The God of the Timaeus is not really at variance 

with the idea of good ; they are aspects of the same, differing 

only as the personal from the impersonal, or the masculine from 

the neuter, the one being the expression or language of mythology, 

the other of philosophy. 

This, or something like this, is the meaning of the idea of good 
as conceived by Plato. Ideas of number, order, harmony, de- 
velopment may also be said to enter into it. The paraphrase 
which has just been given of it goes beyond the actual words of 
Plato. We have perhaps arrived at the stage of philosophy which 
enables us to understand what he is aiming at, better than he did 
himself. We are beginning to realize what he saw darkly and 
at a distance. But if he could have been told that this, or some 
conception of the same kind, but higher than this, was the truth 
at which he was aiming, and the need which he sought to supply, 
he would gladly have recognized that more was contained in his 
own thoughts than he himself knew. As his words are few and 
his manner reticent and tentative, so must the style of his inter- 
preter be. We should not approach his meaning more nearly 
by attempting to define it further. In translating him into the 
language of modern thought, we might insensibly lose the spirit 
of ancient philosophy. It is remarkable that although Plato 
speaks of the idea of good as the first principle of truth and 
being, it is nowhere mentioned in his writings except in this 
passage. Nor did it retain any hold upon the minds of his 
disciples in a later generation ; it was probably unintelligible to 
them. Nor does the mention of it in Aristotle appear to have 
any reference to this or any other passage in his extant writings. 

ANALYSIS. BOOK VII. And now I will describe in a figure the Steph. 
enlightenment or unenlightenment of our nature : Imagine * 
human beings living in an underground den which is open 
towards the light ; they have been there from childhood, hav- 
ing their necks and legs chained, and can only see into the den. 

Analysis 514-517. xcix 

At a distance there is a fire, and between the fire and the Republic 

prisoners a raised way, and a low wall is built along the way, ANALVS ' JS 

like the screen over which marionette players show their 
515 puppets. Behind the wall appear moving figures, who hold in 
their hands various works of art, and among them images of 
men and animals, wood and stone, and some of the passers-by 
are talking and others silent. ' A strange parable,' he said, ' and 
strange captives.' They are ourselves, I replied ; and they see 
only the shadows of the images which the fire throws on the wall 
of the den ; to these they give names, and if we add an echo which 
returns from the wall, the voices of the passengers will seem 
to proceed from the shadows. Suppose now that you suddenly 
turn them round and make them look with pain and grief to them- 
selves at the real images; will they believe them to be real.? 
Will not their eyes be dazzled, and will they not try to get away 
from the light to something which they are able to behold without 

516 blinking ? And suppose further, that they are dragged up a steep 
and rugged ascent into the presence of the sun himself, will not 
their sight be darkened with the excess of light ? Some time will 
pass before they get the habit of perceiving at all ; and at first 
they will be able to perceive only shadows and reflections in the 
water ; then they will recognize the moon and the stars, and will 
at length behold the sun in his own proper place as he is. Last 
of all they will conclude : This is he who gives us the year and 
the seasons, and is the author of all that we see. How will they 
rejoice in passing from darkness to light ! How worthless to 
them will seem the honours and glories of the den ! But now 
imagine further, that they descend into their old habitations ; 
in that underground dwelling they will not see as well as their 

517 fellows, and will not be able to compete with them in the measure- 
ment of the shadows on the wall ; there will be many jokes about 
the man who went on a visit to the sun and lost his eyes, and 
if they find anybody trying to set free and enlighten one of their 
number, they will put him to death, if they can catch him. Now- 
the cave or den is the world of sight, the fire is the sun, the way 
upwards is the way to knowledge, and in the world of knowledge 
the idea of good is last seen and with difficulty, but when seen 

. is inferred to be the author of good and right parent of the lord 
of light in this world, and of truth and understanding in the other. 


: Analysis 517-520. 

Republic He who attains to the beatific vision is always going upwards ; 


he is unwilling to descend into political assemblies and courts 

of law ; for his eyes are apt to blink at the images or shadows 
of images which they behold in them he cannot enter into the 
ideas of those who have never in their lives understood the 
relation of the shadow to the substance. But blindness is of 518 
two kinds, and may be caused either by passing out of darkness 
into light or out of light into darkness, and a man of sense 
will distinguish between them, and will not laugh equally at 
both of them, but the blindness which arises from fulness of 
light he will deem blessed, and pity the other; or if he laugh 
at the puzzled soul looking at the sun, he will have more reason to 
laugh than the inhabitants of the den at those who descend from 
above. There is a further lesson taught by this parable of ours. 
Some persons fancy that instruction is like giving eyes to the 
blind, but we say that the faculty of sight was always there, 
and that the soul only requires to be turned round towards the 
light. And this is conversion ; other virtues are almost like bodily 
habits, and may be acquired in the same manner, but intelligence 
has a diviner life, and is indestructible, turning either to good 
or evil according to the direction given. Did you never observe 519 
how the mind of a clever rogue peers out of his eyes, and the 
more clearly he sees, the more evil he does ? Now if you take 
such an one, and cut away from him those leaden weights of 
pleasure and desire which bind his soul to earth, his intelligence 
will be turned round, and he will behold the truth as clearly as 
he now discerns his meaner ends. And have we not decided 
that our rulers must neither be so uneducated as to have no fixed 
rule of life, nor so over-educated as to be unwilling to leave 
their paradise for the business of the world ? We must choose 
out therefore the natures who are most likely to ascend to the 
light and knowledge of the good ; but we must not allow them to 
remain in the region of light ; they must be forced down again 
among the captives in the den to partake of their labours and 
honours. ' Will they not think this a hardship ? ' You should 
remember that our purpose in framing the State was not that 
our citizens should do what they like, but that they should serve 
the State for the common good of all. May we not fairly say 520 
to our philosopher, Friend, we do you no wrong ; for in other 

Analysis 520-523. ci 

States philosophy grows wild, and a wild plant owes nothing Republic 
to the gardener, but you have been trained by us to be the rulers VI1 ' 


and kings of our hive, and therefore we must insist on your 
descending into the den. You must, each of you, take your turn, 
and become able to use your eyes in the dark, and with a little 
practice you will see far better than those who quarrel about 
the shadows, whose knowledge is a dream only, whilst yours 
is a waking reality. It may be that the saint or philosopher who 
is best fitted, may also be the least inclined to rule, but necessity 
is laid upon him, and he must no longer live in the heaven of 
|2i ideas. And this will be the salvation of the State. For those who 
rule must not be those who are desirous to rule ; and, if you can 
oifer to our citizens a better life than that of rulers generally is, 
there will be a chance that the rich, not only in this world's goods, 
but in virtue and wisdom, may bear rule. And the only life 
which is better than the life of political ambition is that of philo- 
sophy, which is also the best preparation for the government 
of a State. 

Then now comes the question, How shall we create our rulers ; 
what way is there from darkness to light ? The change is effected 
by philosophy ; it is not the turning over of an oyster-shell, but 
the conversion of a soul from night to day, from becoming to 
being. And what training will draw the soul upwards? Our 
former education had two branches, gymnastic, which was 
occupied with the body, and music, the sister art, which infused a 

22 natural harmony into mind and literature ; but neither of these 
sciences gave any promise of doing what we want. Nothing re- 
mains to us but that universal or primary science of which all the 
arts and sciences are partakers, I mean number or calculation. 
* Very true.' Including the art of war ? * Yes, certainly.' Then 
there is something ludicrous about Palamedes in the tragedy, 
coming in and saying that he had invented number, and had 
counted the ranks and set them in order. For if Agamemnon 
could not count his feet (and without number how could he ?) he 
must have been a pretty sort of general indeed. No man should 
be a soldier who cannot count, and indeed he is hardly to be 
called a man. But I am not speaking of these practical applica-* 

23 tions of arithmetic, for number, in my view, is rather to be 
regarded as a conductor to thought and being. I will explain 

cii Analysis 525-526. 

Republic what I mean by the last expression : Things sensible are of two 
ANALYSIS kinc ^ s 5 tne one class invite or stimulate the mind, while in the 
other the mind acquiesces. Now the stimulating class are the 
things which suggest contrast and relation. For example, suppose 
that I hold up to the eyes three fingers a fore finger, a middle 
finger, a little finger the sight equally recognizes all three 
fingers, but without number cannot further distinguish them. Or 
again, suppose two objects to be relatively great and small, these 
ideas of greatness and smallness are supplied not by the sense, 
but by the mind. And the perception of their contrast or relation 524 
quickens and sets in motion the mind, which is puzzled by the 
confused intimations of sense, and has recourse to number in order 
to find out whether the things indicated are one or more than 
one. Number replies that they are two and not one, and are to 
be distinguished from one another. Again, the sight beholds 
great and small, but only in a confused chaos, and not until they 
are distinguished does the question arise of their respective 
natures ; we are thus led on to the distinction between the visible 
and intelligible. That was what I meant when I spoke of stimu- 
lants to the intellect ; I was thinking of the contradictions which 
arise in perception. The idea of unity, for example, like that of a 
finger, does not arouse thought unless involving some conception 
of plurality ; but when the one is also the opposite of one, the 525 
contradiction gives rise to reflection ; an example of this is 
afforded by any object of sight. All number has also an elevating 
effect ; it raises the mind out of the foam and flux of generation to 
the contemplation of being, having lesser military and retail uses 
also. The retail use is not required by us ; but as our guardian is 
to be a soldier as well as a philosopher, the military one may be 
retained. And to our higher purpose no science can be better 
adapted ; but it must be pursued in the spirit of a philosopher, not 
of a shopkeeper. It is concerned, not with visible objects, but 
with abstract truth ; for numbers are pure abstractions the true 
arithmetician indignantly denies that his unit is capable of division. 
When you divide, he insists that you are only multiplying ; his 526 
' one ' is not material or resolvable into fractions, but an unvarying 
and absolute equality; and this proves the purely intellectual 
character of his study. Note also the great power which arith- 
metic has of sharpening the wits ; no other discipline is equally 

Analysis 526528. ciii 

severe, or an equal test of general ability, or equally improving to Republic 
a stupid person. 

Let our second branch of education be geometry. * I can easily 
see,' replied Glaucon, * that the skill of the general will be doubled 
by his knowledge of geometry.' That is a small matter ; the use 
of geometry, to which I refer, is the assistance given by it in the 
contemplation of the idea of good, and the compelling the mind to 
look at true being, and not at generation only. Yet the present 
mode of pursuing these studies, as any one who is the least of a 
mathematician is aware, is mean and ridiculous ; they are made to 
look downwards to the arts, and not upwards to eternal existence. 

527 The geometer is always talking of squaring, subtending, apposing, 
as if he had in view action ; whereas knowledge is the real object 
of the study. It should elevate the soul, and create the mind of 
philosophy ; it should raise up what has fallen down, not to speak 
of lesser uses in war and military tactics, and in the improvement 
of the faculties. 

Shall we propose, as a third branch of our education, astronomy ? 
* Very good,' replied Glaucon ; ' the knowledge of the heavens is 
necessary at once for husbandry, navigation, military tactics.' I 
like your way of giving useful reasons for everything in order to 
make friends of the world. And there is a difficulty in proving to 
mankind that education is not only useful information but a 
purification of the eye of the soul, which is better than the bodily 

528 eye, for by this alone is truth seen. Now, will you appeal to man- 
kind in general or to the philosopher ? or would you prefer to look 
to yourself only? 'Every man is his own best friend.' Then 
take a step backward, for we are out of order, and insert the third 
dimension which is of solids, after the second which is of planes, 
and then you may proceed to solids in motion. But solid geometry 
is not popular and has not the patronage of the State, nor is the use 
of it fully recognized ; the difficulty is great, and the votaries of the 
study are conceited and impatient. Still the charm of the pursuit 
wins upon men, and, if government would lend a little assistance, 
there might be great progress made. ' Very true,' replied Glaucon ; 
'but do I understand you now to begin with plane geometry, 
and to place next geometry of solids, and thirdly, astronomy, 
or the motion of solids?' Yes, I said; my hastiness has only 
hindered us. 

civ Analysis 528-531. 

Republic ' Very good, and now let us proceed to astronomy, about which 
ANALYSIS ^ am wiping to speak in your lofty strain. No one can fail to see 529 
that the contemplation of the heavens draws the soul upwards.' I 
am an exception, then ; astronomy as studied at present appears 
to me to draw the soul not upwards, but downwards. Star-gazing 
is just looking up at the ceiling no better; a man may lie on 
his back on land or on water he may look up or look down, but 
there is no science in that. The vision of knowledge of which 
I speak is seen not with the eyes, but with the mind. All the 
magnificence of the heavens is but the embroidery of a copy which 
falls far short of the divine Original, and teaches nothing about the 
absolute harmonies or motions of things. Their beauty is like the 
beauty of figures drawn by the hand of Daedalus or any other 
great artist, which may be used for illustration, but no mathemati- 530 
cian would seek to obtain from them true conceptions of equality 
or numerical relations. How ridiculous then to look for these in 
the map of the heavens, in which the imperfection of matter comes 
in everywhere as a disturbing element, marring the symmetry of 
day and night, of months and years, of the sun and stars in their 
courses. Only by problems can we place astronomy on a truly 
scientific basis. Let the heavens alone, and exert the intellect. 

Still, mathematics admit of other applications, as the Pytha- 
goreans say, and we agree. There is a sister science of harmonical 
motion, adapted to the ear as astronomy is to the eye, and there 
may be other applications also. Let us inquire of the Pytha- 
goreans about them, not forgetting that we have an aim higher 
than theirs, which is the relation of these sciences to the idea 
of good. The error which pervades astronomy also pervades 
harmonics. The musicians put their ears in the place of their 531 
minds. ' Yes, 3 replied Glaucon, ' I like to see them laying their 
ears alongside of their neighbours' faces some saying, " That 's a 
new note," others declaring that the two notes are the same.' Yes, 
I said ; but you mean the empirics who are always twisting and 
torturing the strings of the lyre, and quarrelling about the tempers 
of the strings ; I am referring rather to the Pythagorean harmonists, 
who are almost equally in error. For they investigate only the 
numbers of the consonances which are heard, and ascend no 
higher, of the true numerical harmony which is unheard, and is 
only to be found in problems, they have not even a conception. 

Analysis 531-533- cv 

'That last,' he said, 'must be a marvellous thing.' A thing, I RepiMic 
replied, which is only useful if pursued with a view to the good. ANALYSIS 

All these sciences are the prelude of the strain, and are profit- 
able if they are regarded in their natural relations to one another. 
' I dare say, Socrates,' said Glaucon ; ' but such a study will be an 
endless business.' What study do you mean of the prelude, or 
what ? For all these things are only the prelude, and you surely 
do not suppose that a mere mathematician is also a dialectician ? 

532 ' Certainly not. I have hardly ever known a mathematician who 
could reason.' And yet, Glaucon, is not true reasoning that hymn 
of dialectic which is the music of the intellectual world, and which 
was by us compared to the effort of sight, when from beholding 
the shadows on the wall we arrived at last at the images which 
gave the shadows ? Even so the dialectical faculty withdrawing 
from sense arrives by the pure intellect at the contemplation of 
the idea of good, and never rests but at the very end of the 
intellectual world. And the royal road out of the cave into the 
light, and the blinking of the eyes at the sun and turning to 
contemplate the shadows of reality, not the shadows of an image 
only this progress and gradual acquisition of a new faculty of 
sight by the help of the mathematical sciences, is the elevation of 
the soul to the contemplation of the highest ideal of being. 

' So far, I agree with you. But now, leaving the prelude, let us 
proceed to the hymn. What, then, is the nature of dialectic, and 

533 what are the paths which lead thither ? ' Dear Glaucon, you 
cannot follow me here. There can be no revelation of the 
absolute truth to one who has not been disciplined in the previous 
sciences. But that there is a science of absolute truth, which 
is attained in some way very different from those now practised, 
I am confident. For all other arts or sciences are relative to 
human needs and opinions ; and the mathematical sciences are 
but a dream or hypothesis of true being, and never analyse their 
own principles. Dialectic alone rises to the principle which is 
above hypotheses, converting and gently leading the eye of the 
soul out of the barbarous slough of ignorance into the light of the 
upper world, with the help of the sciences which we have been 
describing sciences, as they are often termed, although they 
require some other name, implying greater clearness than opinion 
and less clearness than science, and this in our previous sketch 

cvi Analysis 533-537. 

Republic was understanding. And so we get four names two for intellect, 
and two for opinion, reason or mind, understanding, faith, per- 
ception of shadows which make a proportion being : becoming : : 534 
intellect : opinion and science : belief: : understanding : perception 
of shadows. Dialectic may be further described as that science 
which defines and explains the essence or being of each nature, 
which distinguishes and abstracts the good, and is ready to do 
battle against all opponents in the cause of good. To him who is 
not a dialectician life is but a sleepy dream ; and many a man is in 
his grave before he is well waked up. And would you have the 
future rulers of your ideal State intelligent beings, or stupid as 
posts ? ' Certainly not the latter.' Then you must train them in 
dialectic, which will teach them to ask and answer questions, and 
is the coping-stone of the sciences. 

I dare say that you have not forgotten how our rulers were 535 
chosen ; and the process of selection may be carried a step 
further: As before, they must be constant and valiant, good- 
looking, and of noble manners, but now they must also have 
natural ability which education will improve ; that is to say, they 
must be quick at learning, capable of mental toil, retentive, solid, 
diligent natures, who combine intellectual with moral virtues; 
not lame and one-sided, diligent in bodily exercise and indolent in 
mind, or conversely ; not a maimed soul, which hates falsehood 
and yet unintentionally is always wallowing in the mire of 5 36 
ignorance ; not a bastard or feeble person, but sound in wind and 
limb, and in perfect condition for the great gymnastic trial of the 
mind. Justice herself can find no fault with natures such as these ; 
and they will be the saviours of our State ; disciples of another 
sort would only make philosophy more ridiculous than she is at 
present. Forgive my enthusiasm ; I am becoming excited ; but 
when I see her trampled under foot, I am angry at the authors of 
her disgrace. ' I did not notice that you were more excited than 
you ought to have been.' But I felt that I was. Now do not let 
us forget another point in the selection of our disciples that they 
must be young and not old. For Solon is mistaken in saying that 
an old man can be always learning ; youth is the time of study, 
and here we must remember that the mind is free and dainty, and, 
unlike the body, must not be made to work against the grain. 
Learning should be at first a sort of play, in which the natural bent 537 

Analysis 537-539. cvii 

is detected. As in training them for war, the young dogs should Republic 
at first only taste blood ; but when the necessary gymnastics are ANALYS ' IS 
over which during two or three years divide life between sleep 
and bodily exercise, then the education of the soul will become a 
more serious matter. At twenty years of age, a selection must be 
made of the more promising disciples, with whom a new epoch of 
education will begin. The sciences which they have hitherto 
learned in fragments will now be brought into relation with each 
other and with true being; for the power of combining them is the 
test of speculative and dialectical ability. And afterwards at 
thirty a further selection shall be made of those who are able to 
withdraw from the world of sense into the abstraction of ideas. 
But at this point, judging from present experience, there is a 
danger that dialectic may be the source of many evils. The 
danger may be illustrated by a parallel case : Imagine a person 
who has been brought up in wealth and luxury amid a crowd of 
flatterers, and who is suddenly informed that he is a supposititious 

538 son. He has hitherto honoured his reputed parents and dis- 
regarded the flatterers, and now he does the reverse. This is just 
what happens with a man's principles. There are certain 
doctrines which he learnt at home and which exercised a parental 
authority over him. Presently he finds that imputations are cast 
upon them ; a troublesome querist comes and asks, * What is the 
just and good ? ' or proves that virtue is vice and vice virtue, and 
his mind becomes unsettled, and he ceases to love, honour, and 

539 obey them as he has hitherto done. He is seduced into the life of 
pleasure, and becomes a lawless person and a rogue. The case of 
such speculators is very pitiable, and, in order that our thirty 
years' old pupils may not require this pity, let us take every 
possible care that young persons do not study philosophy too 
early. For a young man is a sort of puppy who only plays with 
an argument ; and is reasoned into and out of his opinions every 
day ; he soon begins to believe nothing, and brings himself and 
philosophy into discredit. A man of thirty does not run on in this 
way; he will argue and not merely contradict, and adds new 
honour to philosophy by the sobriety of his conduct. What time 
shall we allow for this second gymnastic training of the soul ? 
say, twice the time required for the gymnastics of the body ; six, 
or perhaps five years, to commence at thirty, and then for fifteen 

cviii The Divisions of Knowledge. 

Republic years let the student go down into the den, and command armies, 
ANALYSIS *^ gain ex P erience of life. At fifty let him return to the end of 540 
all things, and have his eyes uplifted to the idea of good, and order 
his life after that pattern ; if necessary, taking his turn at the 
helm of State, and training up others to be his successors. When 
his time comes he shall depart in peace to the islands of the 
blest. He shall be honoured with sacrifices, and receive such 
worship as the Pythian oracle approves. 

' You are a statuary, Socrates, and have made a perfect image 
of our governors.' Yes, and of our governesses, for the women 
will share in all things with the men. And you will admit that 
our State is not a mere aspiration, but may really come into 
being when there shall arise philosopher-kings, one or more, 
who will despise earthly vanities, and will be the servants of 
justice only. 'And how will they begin their work?' Their 541 
first act will be to send away into the country all those who are 
more than ten years of age, and to proceed with those who are 
left. . . . 

INTRODUC- At the commencement of the sixth book, Plato anticipated 


his explanation of the relation of the philosopher to the world 
in an allegory, in this, as in other passages, following the order 
which he prescribes in education, and proceeding from the con- 
crete to the abstract. At the commencement of Book VII, under 
the figure of a cave having an opening towards a fire and a 
way upwards to the true light, he returns to view the divisions 
of knowledge, exhibiting familiarly, as in a picture, the result 
which had been hardly won by a great effort of thought in the 
previous discussion ; at the same time casting a glance onward 
at the dialectical process, which is represented by the way leading 
from darkness to light. The shadows, the images, the reflection 
of the sun and stars in the water, the stars and sun themselves, 
severally correspond, the first, to the realm of fancy and poetry, 
the second, to the world of sense, the third, to the abstractions 
or universals of sense, of which the mathematical sciences furnish 
the type, the fourth and last to the same abstractions, when seen 
in the unity of the idea, from which they derive a new meaning 
and power. The true dialectical process begins with the con- 
templation of the real stars, and not mere reflections of them, 

The growth of Abstractions. cix 

and ends with the recognition of the sun, or idea of good, as the Republic 
parent not only of light but of warmth and growth. To the INTROD ' UC . 
divisions of knowledge the stages of education partly answer : TION - 
first, there is the early education of childhood and youth in the 
fancies of the poets, and in the laws and customs of the State ; 
then there is the training of the body to be a warrior athlete, 
and a good servant of the mind ; and thirdly, after an interval 
follows the education of later life, which begins with mathematics 
and proceeds to philosophy in general. 

There seem to be two great aims in the philosophy of Plato, 
first, to realize abstractions; secondly, to connect them. Ac- 
cording to him, the true education is that which draws men from 
becoming to being, and to a comprehensive survey of all being. 
He desires to develop in the human mind the faculty of seeing 
the universal in all things ; until at last the particulars of sense 
drop away and the universal alone remains. He then seeks to 
combine the universals which he has disengaged from sense, not 
perceiving that the correlation of them has no other basis but 
the common use of language. He never understands that ab- 
stractions, as Hegel says, are ' mere abstractions ' of use when 
employed in the arrangement of facts, but adding nothing to the 
sum of knowledge when pursued apart from them, or with 
reference to an imaginary idea of good. Still the exercise of the 
faculty of abstraction apart from facts has enlarged the mind, 
and played a great part in the education of the human race. Plato 
appreciated the value of this faculty, and saw that it might be 
quickened by the study of number and relation. All things in 
which there is opposition or proportion are suggestive of re- 
flection. The mere impression of sense evokes no power of 
thought or of mind, but when sensible objects ask to be compared 
and distinguished, then philosophy begins. The science of arith- 
metic first suggests such distinctions. There follow in order the 
other sciences of plain and solid geometry, and of solids in 
motion, one branch of which is astronomy or the harmony of 
the spheres, to this is appended the sister science of the har- 
mony of sounds. Plato seems also to hint at the possibility of 
other applications of arithmetical or mathematical proportions, 
such as we employ in chemistry and natural philosophy, such 
as the Pythagoreans and even Aristotle make use of in Ethics 

ex A priori Astronomy. 

Republic and Politics, e.g. his distinction between arithmetical and geo- 
INTRODUC- metr ^ ca ^ proportion in the Ethics (Book V), or between numerical 
TION. anc j proportional equality in the Politics (iii. 8, iv. 12, &c.). 

The modern mathematician will readily sympathise with Plato's 
delight in the properties of pure mathematics. He will not be 
disinclined to say with him : Let alone the heavens, and study 
the beauties of number and figure in themselves. He too will 
be apt to depreciate their application to the arts. He will observe 
that Plato has a conception of geometry, in which figures are to 
be dispensed with ; thus in a distant and shadowy way seeming 
to anticipate the possibility of working geometrical problems by 
a more general mode of analysis. He will remark with interest 
on the backward state of solid geometry, which, alas ! was not 
encouraged by the aid of the State in the age of Plato ; and he 
will recognize the grasp of Plato's mind in his ability to conceive 
of one science of solids in motion including the earth as well 
as the heavens, not forgetting to notice the intimation to which 
allusion has been already made, that besides astronomy and 
harmonics the science of solids in motion may have other appli- 
cations. Still more will he be struck with the comprehensiveness 
of view which led Plato, at a time when these sciences hardly 
existed, to say that they must be studied in relation to one 
another, and to the idea of good, or common principle of truth 
and being. But he will also see (and perhaps without surprise) 
that in that stage of physical and mathematical knowledge, Plato 
has fallen into the error of supposing that he can construct the 
heavens a priori by mathematical problems, and determine the 
principles of harmony irrespective of the adaptation of sounds to 
the human ear. The illusion was a natural one in that age and 
country. The simplicity and certainty of astronomy and har- 
monics seemed to contrast with the variation and complexity 
of the world of sense ; hence the circumstance that there was 
some elementary basis of fact, some measurement of distance 
or time or vibrations on which they must ultimately rest, was 
overlooked by him. The modern predecessors of Newton fell 
into errors equally great ; and Plato can hardly be said to have 
.been very far wrong, or may even claim a sort of prophetic 
insight into the subject, when we consider that the greater part 
of astronomy at the present day consists of abstract dynamics, 

Mystical applications of Mathematics. cxi 

by the help of which most astronomical discoveries have been Republic 
made. , " 


The metaphysical philosopher from his point of view recognizes >N. 
mathematics as an instrument of education, which strengthens 
the power of attention, developes the sense of order and the 
faculty of construction, and enables the mind to grasp under 
simple formulae the quantitative differences of physical phe- 
nomena. But while acknowledging their value in education, he 
sees also that they have no connexion with our higher moral 
and intellectual ideas. In the attempt which Plato makes to 
connect them, we easily trace the influences of ancient Pytha- 
gorean notions. There is no reason to suppose that he is speak- 
ing of the ideal numbers at p. 525 E ; but he is describing numbers 
which are pure abstractions, to which he assigns a real and 
separate existence, which, as ' the teachers of the art ' (meaning 
probably the Pythagoreans) would have affirmed, repel all at- 
tempts at subdivision, and in which unity and every other number 
are conceived of as absolute. The truth and certainty of numbers, 
when thus disengaged from phenomena, gave them a kind of 
sacredness in the eyes of an ancient philosopher. Nor is it easy 
to say how far ideas of order and fixedness may have had a moral 
and elevating influence on the minds of men, * who,' in the words 
of the Timaeus, 'might learn to regulate their erring lives ac- 
cording to them' (47 C). It is worthy of remark that the old 
Pythagorean ethical symbols still exist as figures of speech among 
ourselves. And those who in modern times see the world per- 
vaded by universal law, may also see an anticipation of this last 
word of modern philosophy in the Platonic idea of good, which 
is the source and measure of all things, and yet only an abstrac- 
tion. (Cp. Philebus, sub fin.) 

Two passages seem to require more particular explanations. 
First, that which relates to the analysis of vision. The difficulty 
in this passage may be explained, like many others, from dif- 
ferences in the modes of conception prevailing among ancient 
and modern thinkers. To us, the perceptions of sense are in- 
separable from the act of the mind which accompanies them. 
The consciousness of form, colour, distance, is indistinguishable 
from the simple sensation, which is the medium of them. 
Whereas to Plato sense is the Heraclitean flux of sense, not 

cxii A priori Harmonics. 

Republic the vision of objects in the order in which they actually present 

INTRODUC- tnemse l ves to the experienced sight, but as they may be imagined 

TION. f O appear confused and blurred to the half-awakened eye of the 

infant. The first action of the mind is aroused by the attempt 

to set in order this chaos, and the reason is required to frame 

distinct conceptions under which the confused impressions of 

sense may be arranged. Hence arises the question, * What is 

great, what is small ?' and thus begins the distinction of the visible 

and the intelligible. 

The second difficulty relates to Plato's conception of harmonics. 
Three classes of harmonists are distinguished by him : first, the 
Pythagoreans, whom he proposes to consult as in the previous 
discussion on music he was to consult Damon they are acknow- 
ledged to be masters in the art, but are altogether deficient 
in the knowledge of its higher import and relation to the good ; 
secondly, the mere empirics, whom Glaucon appears to confuse 
with them, and whom both he and Socrates .ludicrously describe 
as experimenting by mere auscultation on the intervals of sounds. 
Both of these fall short in different degrees of the Platonic idea 
of harmony, which must be studied in a purely abstract way, first 
by the method of problems, and secondly as a part of universal 
knowledge in relation to the idea of good. 

. The allegory has a political as well as a philosophical meaning. 
The den or cave represents the narrow sphere of politics or law 
(cp. the description of the philosopher and lawyer in the Theae- 
tetus, 172-176), and the light of the eternal ideas is supposed to 
exercise a disturbing influence on the minds of those who return 
to this lower world. In other words, their principles are too 
wide for practical application ; they are looking far away into 
the past and future, when their business is with the present. 
The ideal is not easily reduced to the conditions of actual life, 
and may often be at variance with them. And at first, those 
who return are unable to compete with the inhabitants of the 
den in the measurement of the shadows, and are derided and 
persecuted by them ; but after a while they see the things below 
in far truer proportions than those who have never ascended 
into the upper world. The difference between the politician 
turned into a philosopher and the philosopher turned into a 
politician, is symbolized by the two kinds of disordered eyesight, 


The effects of Political Ideals. cxiii 

the one which is experienced by the captive who is transferred Republic 

from darkness to day, the other, of the heavenly messenger who INTROD ^. C . 

voluntarily for the good of his fellow-men descends into the den. 

In what way the brighter light is to dawn on the inhabitants 

of the lower world, or how the idea of good is to become 

the guiding principle of politics, is left unexplained by Plato. 

Like the nature and divisions of dialectic, of which Glaucon 

impatiently demands to be informed, perhaps he would have 

said that the explanation could not be given except to a disciple ^ 

of the previous sciences. (Compare Symposium 210 A.) 

Many illustrations of this part of the Republic may be found in 
modern Politics and in daily life. For among ourselves, too, 
there have been two sorts of Politicians or Statesmen, whose 
eyesight has become disordered in two different ways. First, 
there have been great men who, in the language of Burke, * have 
been too much given to general maxims,' who, like J. S. Mill 
or Burke himself, have been theorists or philosophers before they 
were politicians, or who, having been students of history, have 
allowed some great historical parallel, such as the English Revo- 
lution of 1688, or possibly Athenian democracy or Roman 
Imperialism, to be the medium through which they viewed 
contemporary events. Or perhaps the long projecting shadow 
of some existing institution may have darkened their vision. The 
Church of the future, the Commonwealth of the future, the Society 
of the future, have so absorbed their minds, that they are unable 
to see in their true proportions the Politics of to-day. They 
have been intoxicated with great ideas, such as liberty, or 
equality, or the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or 
the brotherhood of humanity, and they no longer care to consider 
how these ideas must be limited in practice or harmonized with 
the conditions of human life. They are full of light, but the light 
to them has become only a sort of luminous mist or blindness. 
Almost every one has known some enthusiastic half-educated 
person, who sees everything at false distances, and in erroneous 

With this disorder of eyesight may be contrasted another 
of those who see not far into the distance, but what is near only ; 
who have been engaged all their lives in a trade or a profession ; 
who are limited to a set or sect of their own. Men of this kind 

cxiv The dangers which beset youth 

Republic have no universal except their own interests or the interests 

of their class, no principle but the opinion of persons like them- 

selves, no knowledge of affairs beyond what they pick up in 
the streets or at their club. Suppose them to be sent into a 
larger world, to undertake some higher calling, from being 
tradesmen to turn generals or politicians, from being school- 
masters to become philosophers : or imagine them on a sudden 
to receive an inward light which reveals to them for the first 
time in their lives a higher idea of God and the existence of a 
spiritual world, by this sudden conversion or change is not their 
daily life likely to be upset ; and on the other hand will not many 
of their old prejudices and narrownesses still adhere to them 
long after they have begun to take a more comprehensive view 
of human things? From familiar examples like these we may 
learn what Plato meant by the eyesight which is liable to two 
kinds of disorders. 

Nor have we any difficulty in drawing a parallel between the 
young Athenian in the fifth century before Christ who became 
unsettled by new ideas, and the student of a modern University 
who has been the subject of a similar ' aufklarung.' We too 
observe that when young men begin to criticise customary beliefs, 
or to analyse the constitution of human nature, they are apt to 
lose hold of solid principle (dnav TO fifftaiov avrav e'ot'xcrat). They 
are like trees which have been frequently transplanted. The 
earth about them is loose, and they have no roots reaching far 
into the soil. They Might upon every flower,' following their 
own wayward wills, or because the wind blows them. They 
catch opinions, as diseases are caught when they are in the 
air. Borne hither and thither, 'they speedily fall into beliefs' 
the opposite of those in which they were brought up. They 
hardly retain the distinction of right and wrong ; they seem to think 
one thing as good as another. They suppose themselves to be 
searching after truth when they are playing the game of ' follow my 
leader.* They fall in love ' at first sight ' with paradoxes respecting 
morality, some fancy about art, some novelty or eccentricity in 
religion, and like lovers they are so absorbed for a time in their 
new notion that they can think of nothing else. The resolution of 
some philosophical or theological question seems to them more 
interesting and important than any substantial knowledge of 

in times of transition. cxv 

literature or science or even than a good life. Like the youth Republic 
in the Philebus, they are ready to discourse to any one about a INTROD " UC . 
new philosophy. They are generally the disciples of some TION> 
eminent professor or sophist, whom they rather imitate than 
understand. They may be counted happy if in later years they 
retain some of the simple truths which they acquired in early 
education, and which they may, perhaps, find to be worth all 
the rest. Such is the picture which Plato draws and which we 
only reproduce, partly in his own words, of the dangers which 
beset youth in times of transition, when old opinions are fading 
away and the new are not yet firmly established. Their condition 
is ingeniously compared by him to that of a supposititious son, 
who has made the discovery that his reputed parents are not 
his real ones, and, in consequence, they have lost their authority 
over him. 

The distinction between the mathematician and the dialectician 
is also noticeable. Plato is very well aware that the faculty of 
the mathematician is quite distinct from the higher philosophical 
sense which recognizes and combines first principles (531 E). 
The contempt which he expresses at p. 533 for distinctions of 
words, the danger of involuntary falsehood, the apology which 
Socrates makes for his earnestness of speech, are highly charac- 
teristic of the Platonic style and mode of thought. The quaint 
notion that if Palamedes was the inventor of number Agamemnon 
could not have counted his feet ; the art by which we are made to 
believe that this State of ours is not a dream only ; the gravity 
with which the first step is taken in the actual creation of the 
State, namely, the sending out of the city all who had arrived 
at ten years of age, in order to expedite the business of education 
by a generation, are also truly Platonic. (For the last, compare 
the passage at the end of the third book (415 D), in which he 
expects the lie about the earthborn men to be believed in the 
second generation.) 

eph. BOOK VTII. And so we have arrived at the conclusion, that ANALYSIS. 

* in the perfect State wives and children are to be in common ; and 

the education and pursuits of men and women, both in war and 

peace, are to be common, and kings are to be philosophers an<J 

warriors, and the soldiers of the State are to live together, 

i 2 

cxvi Analysis 543-546. 

Republic having all things in common ; and they are to be warrior athletes, 
AN ' receiving no pay but only their food, from the other citizens. 
Now let us return to the point at which we digressed. ' That is 
easily done,' he replied : ' You were speaking of the State which 
you had constructed, and of the individual who answered to this, 
both of whom you affirmed to be good ; and you said that of 544 
inferior States there were four forms and four individuals cor- 
responding to them, which although deficient in various degrees, 
were all of them worth inspecting with a view to determining 
the relative happiness or misery of the best or worst man. Then 
Polemarchus and Adeimantus interrupted you, and this led to 
another argument, and so here we are.' Suppose that we put 
ourselves again in the same position, and do you repeat your 
question. * I should like to know of what constitutions you were 
speaking?' Besides the perfect State there are only four of 
any note in Hellas : first, the famous Lacedaemonian or Cretan 
commonwealth ; secondly, oligarchy, a State full of evils ; thirdly, 
democracy, which follows next in order ; fourthly, tyranny, which 
is the disease or death of all government. Now, States are not 
made of ' oak and rock,' but of flesh and blood ; and therefore as 
there are five States there must be five human natures in in- 
dividuals, which correspond to them. And first, there is the 
ambitious nature, which answers to the Lacedaemonian State; 545 
secondly, the oligarchical nature ; thirdly, the democratical ; and 
fourthly, the tyrannical. This last will have to be compared with 
the perfectly just, which is the fifth, that we may know which is 
the happier, and then we shall be able to determine whether 
the argument of Thrasymachus or our own is the more convincing. 
And as before we began with the State and went on to the 
individual, so now, beginning with timocracy, let us go on to 
the timocratical man, and then proceed to the other forms of 
government, and the individuals who answer to them. 

But how did timocracy arise out of the perfect State ? Plainly, 
like all changes of government, from division in the rulers. But 
whence came division ? * Sing, heavenly Muses,' as Homer says ; 
let them condescend to answer us, as if we were children, to 
whom they put on a solemn face in jest. * And what will they 
say ? ' They will say that human things are fated to decay, and 546 
even the perfect State will not escape from this law of destiny, 

Analysis 546-548. cxvii 

when ' the wheel comes full circle ' in a period short or long. Plants Republic 
or animals have times of fertility and sterility, which the intel- ANALVS J S 
ligence of rulers because alloyed by sense will not enable them to 
ascertain, and children will be born out of season. For whereas 
divine creations are in a perfect cycle or number, the human 
creation is in a number which declines from perfection, and has 
four terms' and three intervals of numbers, increasing, waning, 
assimilating, dissimilating, and yet perfectly commensurate with 
each other. - The base of the number with a fourth added (or 
which is 3 : 4), multiplied by five and cubed, gives two har- 
monies : The first a square number, which is a hundred times 
the base (or a hundred times a hundred) ; the second, an oblong, 
being a hundred squares of the rational diameter of a figure the 
side of which is five, subtracting one from each square or two . 
perfect squares from all, and adding a hundred cubes of three. 
This entire number is geometrical and contains the rule or law of 
generation. When this law is neglected marriages will be un- 
propitious ; the inferior offspring who are then born will in time 
become the rulers ; the State will decline, and education fall into 
decay ; gymnastic will be preferred to music, and the gold and 

547 silver and brass and iron will form a chaotic mass thus division 
will arise. Such is the Muses' answer to our question. 'And 
a true answer, of course : but what more have they to say ? ' 
They say that the two races, the iron and brass, and the silver and 
gold, will draw the State different ways; the one will take to 
trade and moneymaking, and the others, having the true riches 
and not caring for money, will resist them : the contest will end 
in a compromise ; they will agree to have private property, and 
will enslave their fellow-citizens who were once their friends 
and nurturers. But they will retain their warlike character, and 
will be chiefly occupied in fighting and exercising rule. Thus 
arises timocracy, which is intermediate between aristocracy and 

The new form of government resembles the ideal in obedience 
to rulers and contempt for trade, in having common meals, and in 
devotion to warlike and gymnastic exercises. But corruption has 
crept into philosophy, and simplicity of character, which was once 

548 her note, is now looked for only in the military class. Arts of war 
begin to prevail over arts of peace; the ruler is no longer a 

cxviii Analysis 548-551. 

Republic philosopher; as in oligarchies, there springs up among them 
an extrava S ant l ve f gain get another man's and save your 
own, is their principle ; and they have dark places in which they 
hoard their gold and silver, for the use of their women and others ; 
they take their pleasures by stealth^ like boys who are running 
away from their father the law; and their education is not 
inspired by the Muse, but imposed by the strong arm of power. 
The leading characteristic of this State is party spirit and 

And what manner of man answers to such a State ? * In love 
of contention,' replied Adeimantus, 'he will be like our friend 
Glaucon.' In that respect, perhaps, but not in others. He 
is self- asserting and ill-educated, yet fond of literature, al- 549 
though not himself a speaker, fierce with slaves, but obedient 
to rulers, a lover of power and honour, which he hopes to 
gain by deeds of arms, fond, too, of gymnastics and of hunting. 
As he advances in years he grows avaricious, for he has lost 
philosophy, which is the only saviour and guardian of men. His 
origin is as follows: His father is a good man dwelling in an 
ill-ordered State, who has retired from politics in order that he 
may lead a quiet life. His mother is angry at her loss of prece- 
dence among other women ; she is disgusted at her husband's 
selfishness, and she expatiates to her son on the unmanliness 
and indolence of his father. The old family servant takes up 
the tale, and says to the youth : ' When you grow up you must be 
more of a man than your father.' All the world are agreed that 550 
he who minds his own business is an idiot, while a busybody is 
highly honoured and esteemed. The young man compares this 
spirit with his father's words and ways, and as he is naturally 
well disposed, although he has suffered from evil influences, he 
rests at a middle point and becomes ambitious and a lover of 

And now let us set another city over against another man. 
The next form of government is oligarchy, in which the rule 
is of the rich only ; nor is it difficult to see how such a State 
arises. The decline begins with the possession of gold and silver ; 
illegal modes of expenditure are invented ; one draws another 
on, and the multitude are infected; riches outweigh virtue; 
lovers of money take the place of lovers of honour; misers of 55 1 

Analysis 551-553. cxix 

politicians ; and, in time, political privileges are confined by law Republic 
to the rich, who do not shrink from violence in order to effect 


their purposes. 

Thus much of the origin, let us next consider the evils of 
oligarchy. Would a man who wanted to be safe on a voyage take 
a bad pilot because he was rich, or refuse a good one because 
he was poor? And does not the analogy apply still more to 
the State ? And there are yet greater evils : two nations are 
struggling together in one the rich and the poor ; and the rich 
- dare not put arms into the hands of the poor, and are unwilling to 
pay for defenders out of their own money. And have we not 

552 already condemned that State in which the same persons are 
warriors as well as shopkeepers ? The greatest evil of all is that 
a man may sell his property and have no place in the State ; 
while there is one class which has enormous wealth, the other 
is entirely destitute. But observe that these destitutes had not 
really any more of the governing nature in them when they were 
rich than now that they are poor; they were miserable spend- 
thrifts always. They are the drones of the hive; only whereas 
the actual drone is unprovided by nature with a sting, the two- 
legged things whom we call drones are some of them without stings 
and some of them have dreadful stings ; in other words, there 
are paupers and there are rogues. These are never far apart ; 
and in oligarchical cities, where nearly everybody is a pauper 
who is not a ruler, you will find abundance of both. And 
this evil state of society originates in bad education and bad 

553 Like State, like man, the change in the latter begins with the 
representative of timocracy ; he walks at first in the ways of his 
father, who may have been a statesman, or general, perhaps; 
and presently he sees him ' fallen from his high estate,' the victim 
of informers, dying in prison or exile, or by the hand of the 
executioner. The lesson which he thus receives, makes him 
cautious ; he leaves politics, represses his pride, and saves pence. 
Avarice is enthroned as his bosom's lord, and assumes the style 
of the Great King ; the rational and spirited elements sit humbly 
on the ground at either side, the one immersed in calculation, the 
other absorbed in the admiration of wealth. The love of honour 
turns to love of money; the conversion is instantaneous. The 

cxx Analysis 554-557. 

Republic man is mean, saving, toiling, the slave of one passion which is 554 


VIH - the master of the rest : Is he not the very image of the State ? 

He has had no education, or he would never have allowed the 
blind god of riches to lead the dance within him. And being 
uneducated he will have many slavish desires, some beggarly, 
some knavish, breeding in his soul. If he is the trustee of an 
orphan, and has the power to defraud, he will soon prove that he 
is not without the will, and that his passions are only restrained 
by fear and not by reason. Hence he leads a divided existence ; 
in which the better desires mostly prevail. But when he is con- 555 
tending for prizes and other distinctions, he is afraid to incur a loss 
which is to be repaid only by barren honour ; in time of war he 
fights with a small part of his resources, and usually keeps his 
money and loses the victory. 

Next comes democracy and the democratic man, out of oli- 
garchy and the oligarchical man. Insatiable avarice is the ruling 
passion of an oligarchy ; and they encourage expensive habits in 
order that they may gain by the ruin of extravagant youth. Thus 
men of family often lose their property or rights of citizenship ; 
but they remain in the city, full of hatred against the new owners 
of their estates and ripe for revolution. The usurer with stooping 
walk pretends not to see them ; he passes by, and leaves his 
sting that is, his money in some other victim ; and many a 
man has to pay the parent or principal sum multiplied into a 
family of children, and is reduced into a state of dronage by him. 556 
The only way of diminishing the evil is either to limit a man in 
his use of his property, or to insist that he shall lend at his own 
risk. But the ruling class do not want remedies ; they care 
only for money, and are as careless of virtue as the poorest of the 
citizens. Now there are occasions on which the governors and 
the governed meet together, at festivals, on a journey, voyaging 
or fighting. The sturdy pauper finds that in the hour of danger 
he is not despised ; he sees the rich man puffing and panting, 
and draws tlie conclusion which he privately imparts to his com- 
panions, ' that our people are not good for much ; ' and as a 
sickly frame is made ill by a mere touch from without, or some- 
times without external impulse is ready to fall to pieces of itself, 
so from the least cause, or with none at all, the city falls ill and 
fights a battle for life or death. And democracy comes into 557 

Analysis 557-559- 


power when the poor are the victors, killing some and exiling 
some, and giving equal shares in the government to all the rest. 

The manner of life in such a State is that of democrats ; there 
is freedom and plainness of speech, and every man does what 
is right in his own eyes,* and has his own way of life. Hence 
arise the most various developments of character ; the State is 
like a piece of embroidery of which the colours and figures are 
the manners of men, and there are many who, like women and 
children, prefer this variety to real beauty and excellence. The 
State is not one but many, like a bazaar at which you can buy 
anything. The great charm is, that you may do as you like ; 
you may govern if you like, let it alone if you like ; go to war 

558 and make peace if you feel disposed, and all quite irrespective 
of anybody else. When you condemn men to death they remain 
alive all the same ; a gentleman is desired to go into exile, 
and he stalks about the streets like a hero; and nobody sees 
him or cares for him. Observe, too, how grandly Democracy 
sets her foot upon all our fine theories of education, how little 
she cares for the training of her statesmen ! The only quali- 
fication which she demands is the profession of patriotism. Such 
is democracy ; a pleasing, lawless, various sort of government, 
distributing equality to equals and unequals alike. , 

Let us now inspect the individual democrat ; and first, as in 
the case of the State, we will trace his antecedents. He is the 
son of a miserly oligarch, and has been taught by him to restrain 
the love of unnecessary pleasures. Perhaps I ought to explain 

559 this latter term : Necessary pleasures are those which are 
good, and which we cannot do without; unnecessary pleasures 
are those which do no good, and of which the desire might 
be eradicated by early training. For example, the pleasures 
of eating and drinking are necessary and healthy, up to a certain 
point ; beyond that point they are alike hurtful to body and 
mind, and the excess may be avoided. When in excess, they 
may be rightly called expensive pleasures, in opposition to the 
useful ones. And the drone, as we called him, is the slave of 
these unnecessary pleasures and desires, whereas the miserly 
oligarch is subject only to the necessary. 

The oligarch changes into the democrat in the following 
manner: The youth who has had a miserly bringing up, gets 



cxxii Analysis 559-562. 

Republic a taste of the drone's honey; he meets with wild companions, 
ANALYSIS w ^ mtro( ^ uce mm to every new pleasure. As in the State, so 
in the individual, there are allies on both sides, temptations from 
without and passions from within ; there is reason also and 
external influences of parents and friends in alliance with the 
oligarchical principle ; and the two factions are in violent conflict 560 
with one another. Sometimes the party of order prevails, but 
then again new desires and new disorders arise, and the whole 
mob of passions gets possession of the Acropolis, that is to say, 
the soul, which they find void and unguarded by true words 
and works. Falsehoods and illusions ascend to take their place ; 
the prodigal goes back into the country of the Lotophagi or 
drones, and openly dwells there. And if any offer of alliance 
or parley of individual elders comes from home, the false spirits 
shut the gates of the castle and permit no one to enter, there 
is a battle, and they gain the victory ; and straightway making 
alliance with the desires, they banish modesty, which they call 
folly, and send temperance over the border. When the house 
has been swept and garnished, they dress up the exiled vices, and, 
crowning them with garlands, bring them back under new names. 
Insolence they call good breeding, anarchy freedom, waste mag- 
nificence, impudence courage. Such is the process by which the 561 
youth passes from the necessary pleasures to the unnecessary. 
After a while he divides his time impartially between them ; and 
perhaps, when he gets older and the violence of passion has 
abated, he restores some of the exiles and lives in a sort of equi- 
librium, indulging first one pleasure and then another; and if 
reason comes and tells him that some pleasures are good and 
honourable, and others bad and vile, he shakes his head and says 
that he can make no distinction between them. Thus he lives 
in the fancy of the hour ; sometimes he takes to drink, and then 
he turns abstainer ; he practises in the gymnasium or he does 
nothing at all; then again he would be a philosopher or a 
politician ; or again, he would be a warrior or a man of business ; 

he is 

'Every thing by starts and nothing long.' 

There remains still the finest and fairest of all men and all 562 
States tyranny and the tyrant. Tyranny springs from de- 
mocracy much as democracy springs from oligarchy. Both arise 

Analysis 562-564. cxxiii 

from excess; the one from excess of wealth, the other from Republic 
excess of freedom. 'The great natural good of life,' says the 
democrat, ' is freedom.' And this exclusive love of freedom and 
regardlessness of everything else, is the cause of the change 
from democracy to tyranny. The State demands the strong 
wine of freedom, and unless her rulers give her a plentiful 
draught, punishes and insults them ; equality and fraternity of 
governors and governed is the approved principle. Anarchy is 
the law, not of the State only, but of private houses, and extends 

563 even to the animals. Father and son, citizen and foreigner, teacher 
and pupil, old and young, are all on a level ; fathers and teachers 
fear their sons and pupils, and the wisdom of the young man 
is a match for the elder, and the old imitate the jaunty manners 
of the young because they are afraid of being thought morose. 
Slaves are on a level with their masters and mistresses, and 
there is no difference between men and women. Nay, the very 
animals in a democratic State have a freedom which is unknown 
in other places. The she-dogs are as good as their she-mistresses, 
and horses and asses march along with dignity and run their 
noses against anybody who comes in their way. ' That has often 
been my experience.' At last the citizens become so sensitive 
that they cannot endure the yoke of laws, written or unwritten ; 
they would have no man call himself their master. Such is 
the glorious beginning of things out of which tyranny springs. 
* Glorious, indeed ; but what is to follow ? ' The ruin of oligarchy 

564 is the ruin of democracy ; for there is a law of contraries ; the 
excess of freedom passes into the excess of slavery, and the 
greater the freedom the greater the slavery. You will remember 
that in the oligarchy were found two classes rogues and paupers, 
whom we compared to drones with and without stings. These 
two classes are to the State what phlegm and bile are to the 
human body; and the State-physician, or legislator, must get 
rid of them, just as the bee-master keeps the drones out of the 
hive. Now in a democracy, too, there are drones, but they are 
more numerous and more dangerous than in the oligarchy; 
there they are inert and unpractised, here they are full of life 
and animation ; and the keener sort speak and act, while the 
others buzz about the bema and prevent their opponents from 
being heard. And there is another class in democratic States, 

cxxiv Analysis 564-567. 

Republic of respectable, thriving individuals, who can be squeezed when 
. ' the drones have need of their possessions ; there is more- 565 


over a third class, who are the labourers and the artisans, and 
they make up the mass of the people. When the people meet, 
they are omnipotent, but they cannot be brought together un- 
less they are attracted by a little honey ; and the rich are 
made to supply the honey, of which the demagogues keep the 
greater part themselves, giving a taste only to the mob. Their 
victims attempt to resist; they are driven mad by the stings 
of the drones, and so become downright oligarchs in self-defence. 
Then follow informations and convictions for treason. The 
people have some protector whom they nurse into greatness, 
and from this root the tree of tyranny springs. The nature of 
the change is indicated in the old fable of the temple of Zeus 
Lycaeus, which tells how he who tastes human flesh mixed up 
with the flesh of other victims will turn into a wolf. Even so 
the protector, who tastes human blood, and. slays some and 
exiles others with or without law, who hints at abolition of 
debts and division of lands, must either perish or become a 566 
wolf that is, a tyrant. Perhaps he is driven out, but he soon 
comes back from exile ; and then if his enemies cannot get rid 
of him by lawful means, they plot his assassination. Thereupon 
the friend of the people makes his well-known request to them 
for a body-guard, which they readily grant, thinking only of his 
danger and not of their own. Now let the rich man make to 
himself wings, for he will never run away again if he does not 
do so then. And the Great Protector, having crushed all his 
rivals, stands proudly erect in the chariot of State, a full-blown 
tyrant : Let us enquire into the nature of his happiness. 

In the early days of his tyranny he smiles and beams upon 
everybody ; he is not a ' dominus,' no, not he : he has only come 
to put an end to debt and the monopoly of land. Having got rid 
of foreign enemies, he makes himself necessary to the State by 567 
always going to war. He is thus enabled to depress the poor 
by heavy taxes, and so keep them at work ; and he can get rid 
of bolder spirits by handing them over to the enemy. Then 
comes unpopularity ; some of his old associates have the courage 
to oppose him. The consequence is, that he has to make a 
purgation of the State; but, unlike the physician who purges 

Analysis 567-569. cxxv 

away the bad, he must get rid of the high-spirited, the wise and Republic 
the wealthy; for he has no choice between death and a life of ' 


shame and dishonour. And the more hated he is, the more he 
will require trusty guards ; but how will he obtain them ? * They 
will come flocking like birds for pay.' Will he not rather obtain 
them on the spot? He will take the slaves from their owners 

568 and make them his body-guard ; these are his trusted friends, 
who admire and look up to him. Are not the tragic poets wise 
who magnify and exalt the tyrant, and say that he is wise by 
association with the wise ? And are not their praises of tyranny 
alone a sufficient reason why we should exclude them from our 
State ? They may go to other cities, and gather the mob about 
them with fine words, and change commonwealths into tyrannies 
and democracies, receiving honours and rewards for their 
services ; but the higher they and their friends ascend constitution 
hill, the more their honour will fail and become 'too asthmatic 
to mount.' To return to the tyrant How will he support that 
rare army of his ? First, by robbing the temples of their treasures, 
which will enable him to lighten the taxes; then he will take 
all his father's property, and spend it on his companions, male 
or female. Now his father is the demus, and if the demus gets 

569 angry, and says that a great hulking son ought not to be a burden 
on his parents, and bids him and his riotous crew begone, then 
will the parent know what a monster he has been nurturing, 
and that the son whom he would fain expel is too strong for 
him. 'You do not mean to say that he will beat his father?' 
Yes, he will, after having taken away his arms. 'Then he is 
a parricide and a cruel, unnatural son.' And the people have 
jumped from the fear of slavery into slavery, out of the smoke 
into the fire. Thus liberty, when out of all order and reason, 
passes into the worst form of servitude. . . . 

In the previous books Plato has described the ideal State ; now INTRODUC- 
he returns to the perverted or declining forms, on which he 
had lightly touched at the end of Book iv. These he describes in 
a succession of parallels between the individuals and the States, 
tracing the origin of either in the State or individual which has 
preceded them. He begins by asking the point at which he 
digressed; and is thus led shortly to recapitulate the substance 

cxxvi The order of decline in States 

Republic of the three former books, which also contain a parallel of the 
VIIL philosopher and the State. 


HON. Of the first decline he gives no intelligible account ; he would 

not have liked to admit the most probable causes of the fall of his 
ideal State, which to us would appear to be the impracticability of 
communism or the natural antagonism of the ruling and subject 
classes. He throws a veil of mystery over the origin of the 
decline, which he attributes to ignorance of the law of population. 
Of this law the famous geometrical figure or number is the 
expression. Like the ancients in general, he had no idea of the 
gradual perfectibility of man or of the education of the human 
race. His ideal was not to be attained in the course of ages, 
but was to spring in full armour from the head of the legislator. 
When good laws had been given, he thought only of the manner 
in which they were likely to be corrupted, or of how they might 
be filled up in detail or restored in accordance with their original 
spirit. He appears not to have reflected upon the full meaning of 
his own words, ' In the brief space of human life, nothing great 
can be accomplished ' (x. 608 B) ; or again, as he afterwards says 
in the Laws (iii. 676), * Infinite time is the maker of cities.' The 
order of constitutions which is adopted by him represents an 
order of thought rather than a succession of time, and may be 
considered as the first attempt to frame a philosophy of history. 

The first of these declining States is timocracy, or the govern- 
ment of soldiers and lovers of honour, which answers to the 
Spartan State ; this is a government of force, in which education 
is not inspired by the Muses, but imposed by the law, and in 
which all the finer elements of organization have disappeared. 
The philosopher himself has lost the love of truth, and the soldier, 
who is of a simpler and honester nature, rules in his stead. The 
individual who answers to timocracy has some noticeable qualities. 
He is described as ill educated, but, like the Spartan, a lover of 
literature ; and although he is a harsh master to his servants he 
has no natural superiority over them. His character is based 
upon a reaction against the circumstances of his father, who in 
a troubled city has retired from politics; and his mother, who 
is dissatisfied at her own position, is always urging him towards 
the life of political ambition. Such a character may have had 
this origin, and indeed Livy attributes the Licinian laws to a 

not historical but imaginary. cxxvii 

feminine jealousy of a similar kind (vii. 34). But there is obviously Republic 
no connection between the manner in which the timocratic State T 


springs out of the ideal, and the mere accident by which the TION. 
timocratic man is the son of a retired statesman. 

The two next stages in the decline of constitutions have even 
less historical foundation. For there is no trace in Greek history 
of a polity like the Spartan or Cretan passing into an oligarchy of 
wealth, or of the oligarchy of wealth passing into a democracy. 
The order of history appears to be different ; first, in the Homeric 
times there is the royal or patriarchal form of government, which 
a century or two later was succeeded by an oligarchy of birth 
rather than of wealth, and in which wealth was only the accident 
of the hereditary possession of land and power. Sometimes this 
oligarchical government gave way to a government based upon a 
qualification of property, which, according to Aristotle's mode of 
using words, would have been called a timocracy ; and this in 
some cities, as at Athens, became the conducting medium to 
democracy. But such was not the necessary order of succession 
in States ; nor, indeed, can any order be discerned in the endless 
fluctuation of Greek history (like the tides in the Euripus), except, 
perhaps, in the almost uniform tendency from monarchy to 
aristocracy in the earliest times. At first sight there appears to 
be a similar inversion in the last step of the Platonic succession ; 
for tyranny, instead of being the natural end of democracy, in 
early Greek history appears rather as a stage leading to de- 
mocracy; the reign of Peisistratus and his sons is an episode 
which comes between the legislation of Solon and the constitution 
of Cleisthenes ; and some secret cause common to them all seems 
to have led the greater part of Hellas at her first appearance in 
the dawn of history, e.g. Athens, Argos, Corinth, Sicyon, and 
nearly every State with the exception of Sparta, through a similar 
stage of tyranny which ended either in oligarchy or democracy. 
But then we must remember that Plato is describing rather the 
contemporary governments of the Sicilian States, which alternated 
between democracy and tyranny, than the ancient history of 
Athens or Corinth. 

The portrait of the tyrant himself is just such as the later Greek 
delighted to draw of Phalaris and Dionysius, in which, as in the 
lives of mediaeval saints or mythic heroes, the conduct and actions 

cxxviii The exaggeration of Tyranny and Democracy. 

Republic of one were attributed to another in order to fill up the outline. 
VIII. There was no en ormity which the Greek was not ready to believe 

TION, of them ; the tyrant was the negation of government and law ; his 

assassination was glorious; there was no crime, however un- 
natural, which might not with probability be attributed to him. 
In this, Plato was only following the common thought of his 
countrymen, which he embellished and exaggerated with all 
the power of his genius. There is no need to suppose that he 
drew from life ; or that his knowledge of tyrants is derived from a 
personal acquaintance with Dionysius. The manner in which 
he speaks of them would rather tend to render doubtful his ever 
having ' consorted ' with them, or entertained the schemes, which 
are attributed to him in the Epistles, of regenerating Sicily by 
their help. 

Plato in a hyperbolical and serio-comic vein exaggerates the 
follies of democracy which he also sees reflected in social life. 
To him democracy is a state of individualism or dissolution ; 
in which every one is doing what is right in his own eyes. Of 
a people animated by a common spirit of liberty, rising as one 
man to repel the Persian host, which is the leading idea of 
democracy in Herodotus and Thucydides, he never seems to 
think. But il he is not a believer in liberty, still less is he a lover 
of tyranny. His deeper and more serious condemnation is re- 
served for the tyrant, who is the ideal of wickedness and also 
of weakness, and who in his utter helplessness and suspiciousness 
is leading an almost impossible existence, without that remnant of 
good which, in Plato's opinion, was required to give power to 
evil (Book i. p. 352). This ideal of wickedness living in helpless 
misery, is the reverse of that other portrait of perfect injustice 
ruling in happiness and splendour, which first of all Thrasy- 
machus, and afterwards the sons of Ariston had drawn, and 
is also the reverse of the king whose rule of life is the good of 
his subjects. 

Each of these governments and individuals has a corresponding 
ethical gradation : the ideal State is under the rule of reason, not 
extinguishing but harmonizing the passions, and training them 
in virtue ; in the timocracy and the timocratic man the constitu- 
tion, whether of the State or of the individual, is based, first, upon 
courage, and secondly, upon the love of honour ; this latter virtue, 

Free use of metaphor in Plato. cxxix 

which is hardly to be esteemed a virtue, has superseded all the Republic 
rest. In the second stage of decline the virtues have altogether INTROD ' 
disappeared, and the love of gain has succeeded to them ; in the TION - 
third stage, or democracy, the various passions are allowed to 
have free play, and the virtues and vices are impartially culti- 
vated. But this freedom, which leads to many curious extrava- 
gances of character, is in reality only a state of weakness and 
dissipation. At last, one monster passion takes possession of the 
whole nature of man this is tyranny. In all of them excess 
the excess first of wealth and then of freedom, is the element of 

The eighth book of the Republic abounds in pictures of life and 
fanciful allusions ; the use of metaphorical language is carried to a 
greater extent than anywhere else in Plato. We may remark, 
(i), the description of the two nations in one, which become more 
and more divided in the Greek Republics, as in feudal times, and 
perhaps also in our own ; (2), the notion of democracy expressed 
in a sort of Pythagorean formula as equality among unequals ; 
(3), the free and easy ways of men and animals, which are charac- 
teristic of liberty, as foreign mercenaries and universal mistrust 
are of the tyrant ; (4), the proposal that mere debts should not be 
recoverable by law is a speculation which has often been enter- 
tained by reformers of the law in modern times, and is in harmony 
with the tendencies of modern legislation. Debt and land were 
the two great difficulties of the ancient lawgiver : in modern times 
we may be said to have almost, if not quite, solved the first of these 
difficulties, but hardly the second. 

Still more remarkable are the corresponding portraits of in- 
dividuals : there is the family picture of the father and mother 
and the old servant of the timocratical man, and the out- 
ward respectability and inherent meanness of the oligarchical ; 
the uncontrolled licence and freedom of the democrat, in which 
the young Alcibiades seems to be depicted, doing right or wrong 
as he pleases, and who at last, like the prodigal, goes into a far 
country (note here the play of language by which the democratic 
man is himself represented under the image of a State having 
a citadel and receiving embassies) ; and there is the wild-beast 
nature, which breaks loose in his successor. The hit about the 
tyrant being a parricide ; the representation of the tyrant's life as 


cxxx The Number of the State. 

Republic an obscene dream ; the rhetorical surprise of a more miserable 
VIII. than the most miserable of men in Book ix ; the hint to the poets 


TION. that if they are the friends of tyrants there is no place for them in 
a constitutional State, and that they are too clever not to see the 
propriety of their own expulsion ; the continuous image of the 
drones who are of two kinds, swelling at last into the monster 
drone having wings (see infra, Book ix), are among Plato's 
happiest touches. "> 

There remains to be considered the great difficulty of this book 
of the Republic, the so-called number of the State. This is a 
puzzle almost as great as the Number of the Beast in the Book of 
Revelation, and though apparently known to Aristotle, is referred 
to by Cicero as a proverb of obscurity (Ep. ad Att. vii. 13, 5). And 
some have imagined that there is no answer to the puzzle, and 
that Plato has been practising upon his readers. But such a 
deception as this is inconsistent with the manner in which 
Aristotle speaks of the number (Pol. v. 12, 7), and would have 
been ridiculous to any reader of the Republic who was ac- 
quainted with Greek mathematics. As little reason is there for 
supposing that Plato intentionally used obscure expressions ; the 
obscurity arises from our want of familiarity with the subject. 
On the other hand, Plato himself indicates that he is not 
altogether serious, and in describing his number as a solemn 
jest of the Muses, he appears to imply some degree of satire 
on the symbolical use of number. (Cp. Cratylus, passim ; Protag. 
342 ff.) 

Our hope of understanding the passage depends principally 
on an accurate study of the words themselves ; on which a faint 
light is thrown by the parallel passage in the ninth book. Another 
help is the allusion in Aristotle, who makes the important remark 
that the latter part of the passage (from kv nVpiro? irv6fj.rjv t K.T.X.) 
describes a solid figure 1 . Some further clue may be gathered 
from the appearance of the Pythagorean triangle, which is denoted 
by the numbers 3, 4, 5, and in which, as in every right-angled 

1 Pol. v. 12, 8 : ' He only says that nothing is abiding, but that all things 
change in a certain cycle ; and that the origin of the change is a base of 
numbers which are in the ratio of 4 : 3 ; and this when combined with a figure of 
five gives two harmonies ; he means when the number of this figure becomes 

The Number of the State. cxxxi 

triangle, the squares of the two lesser sides equal the square of the Republic 
hypotenuse ( 3 2 + 4 2 = 5 2 , or 9+ 16 = 25). 

Plato begins by speaking of a perfect or cyclical number (cp. 
Tim. 39 D), i. e. a number in which the sum of the divisors equals 
the whole ; this is the divine or perfect number in which all lesser 
cycles or revolutions are complete. He also speaks of a human 
or imperfect number, having four terms and three intervals of 
numbers which are related to one another in certain proportions ; 
these he converts into figures, and finds in them when they have 
been raised to the third power certain elements of number, which 
give two 'harmonies,' the one square, the other oblong; but he 
does not say that the square number answers to the divine, or 
the oblong number to the human cycle ; nor is any intimation 
given that the first or divine number represents the period of the 
world, the second the period of the state, or of the human race as 
Zeller supposes ; nor is the divine number afterwards mentioned 
(cp. Arist.). The second is the number of generations or births, 
and presides over them in the same mysterious manner in 
which the stars preside over them, or in which, according to 
the Pythagoreans, opportunity, justice, marriage, are repre- 
sented by some number or figure. This is probably the number 

The explanation given in the text supposes the two harmonies 
to make up the number 8000. This explanation derives a certain 
plausibility from the circumstance that 8000 is the ancient number 
of the Spartan citizens (Herod, vii. 34), and would be what Plato 
might have called ' a number which nearly concerns the popula- 
tion of a city ' (588 A) ; the mysterious disappearance of the 
Spartan population may possibly have suggested to him the first 
cause of his decline of States. The lesser or square ' harmony,' of 
400, might be a symbol of the guardians, the larger or oblong 
' harmony,' of the people, and the numbers 3, 4, 5 might refer re- 
spectively to the three orders in the State or parts of the soul, the 
four virtues, the five forms of government. The harmony of the 
musical scale, which is elsewhere used as a symbol of the harmony 
of the state (Rep. iv. 443 D), is also indicated. For the numbers 
3, 4, 5, which represent the sides of the Pythagorean triangle, also 
denote the intervals of the scale. 

The terms used in the statement of the problem may be 


cxxxii The Number of the State. 

Republic explained as follows. A perfect number (reXeio? 

VIII. as a i reac jy stated, is one which is equal to the sum of its 

TION. Thus 6, which is the first perfect or cyclical number, = 

The words opot, ' terms ' or ' notes,' and aTroorao-cis, ' intervals,' are 
applicable to music as well as to number and figure. IIpa>Ta> is the 
'base' on which the whole calculation depends, or the 'lowest 
term ' from which it can be worked out. The words dwdpevai rf 
KOI dvva<rrfv6pcvai have been variously translated ' squared and 
cubed ' (Donaldson), ' equalling and equalled in power ' (Weber), 
' by involution and evolution,' i. e. by raising the power and ex- 
tracting the root (as in the translation). Numbers are called ' like 
and unlike ' (opoiovvres re KOI dvopotovvrfs) when the factors or the 
sides of the planes and cubes which they represent are or are not 
in the same ratio : e. g. 8 and 27 = 2 3 and 3 3 ; and conversely. 
'Waxing' (avgovrcs) numbers, called also 'increasing' (vnfpreXels), 
are those which are exceeded by the sum of their divisors : e. g. 
12 and 18 are less than 16 and 21. 'Waning ' (<p.6ivovrcs) numbers, 
called also ' decreasing ' (/\Ai7rs), are those which exceed the sum 
of their divisors: e.g. 8 and 27 exceed 7 and 13. The words 
translated ' commensurable and agreeable to one another ' (Trpoo^- 
yopa KOI fora) seem to be different ways of describing the same 
relation, with more or less precision. They are equivalent to 
'expressible in terms having the same relation to one another,' 
like the series 8, 12, 18, 27, each of which numbers is in the 
relation of i^ to the preceding. The 'base,' or 'fundamental 
number, which has added to it ' (i ) = or a musical fourth. 
'Appovia is a ' proportion ' of numbers as of musical notes, applied 
either to the parts or factors of a single number or to the relation 
of one number to another. The first harmony is a 'square' 
number (IO-TJV Ivdus) ; the second harmony is an ' oblong ' number 
(irpopriKT)), i.e. a number representing a figure of which the 
opposite sides only are equal. 'Aptd/uu dnb 8iap(Tpa>v = ' numbers 
squared from ' or 'upon diameters ' ; farS* = ' rational,' i.e. omitting 
fractions, appqrw*', ' irrational,' i. e. including fractions ; e. g. 49 is a 
square of the rational diameter of a figure the side of which = 5 : 
50, of an irrational diameter of the same. For several of 

the explanations here given and for a good deal besides I am 
indebted to an excellent article on the Platonic Number by 
Dr. Donaldson (Proc. of the Philol. Society, vol. i. p. 81 ff. ). 

The Number of the State. cxxxiii 

The conclusions which he draws from these data are summed Republic 
up by him as follows. Having assumed that the number of the VIIL 


perfect or divine cycle is the number of the world, and the > N - 
number of the imperfect cycle the number of the state, he 
proceeds: 'The period of the world is defined by the perfect 
number 6, that of the state by the cube of that number or 216, 
which is the product of the last pair of terms in the Platonic 
Tetractys * ; and if we take this as the basis of our computation, 
we shall have two cube numbers (avgrjo-eis BwdpevaL re KCU dwa- 
orevo/Ltewu), viz. 8 and 27; and the mean proportionals between 
these, viz. 12 and 18, will furnish three intervals and four terms, 
and these terms and intervals stand related to one another 
in the sesqui-altera ratio, i. e. each term is to the preceding as f . 
Now if we remember that the number 216 = 8 x 27 = 3* + 4 s + 5 3 , 
and that 3 2 + 4 2 = 5 2 , we must admit that this number implies the 
numbers 3, 4, 5, to which musicians attach so much importance. 
And if we combine the ratio f with the number 5, or multiply 
the ratios of the sides by the hypotenuse, we shall by first squaring 
and then cubing obtain two expressions, which denote the ratio of 
the two last pairs of terms in the Platonic Tetractys, the former 
multiplied by the square, the latter by the cube of the number 10, 
the sum of the first four digits which constitute the Platonic 
Tetractys.' The two dpnoviat he elsewhere explains as 

follows : ' The first dppovia is "IOTJV tVa/as- IKCLTOV roo-avraW, in other 
words ( x s) 2 = loo x f. The second Appovia, a cube of the same 
root, is described as 100 multipjied (a) by the rational diameter of 
5 diminished by unity, i. e., as shown above, 48 : (/3) by two in- 
commensurable diameters, i. e. the two first irrationals, or 2 and 3 : 
and (y) by the cube of 3, or 27. Thus we have (48 + 5 + 27) 100 
= loco x 2 3 . This second harmony is to be the cube of the number 
of which the former harmony is the square, and therefore must be 
divided by the cube of 3. In other words, the whole expression 
will be: (i), for the first harmony, ^-: (2), for the second 
harmony, ^^.' 

The reasons which have inclined me to agree with Dr. Donaldson 
and also with Schleiermacher in supposing that 216 is the Platonic 
number of births are : (i) that it coincides with the description of 
the number given in the first part of the passage (eV o> irpa>T<* . . . 

1 The Platonic Tetractys consisted of a series of seven terms, i, 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 27. 

cxxxiv The Niimber of the State. 

Republic dire^vav) : (2) that the number 216 with its permutations would 
III. h ave been familiar to a Greek mathematician, though unfamiliar to 


TION. us : (3) that 216 is the cube of 6, and also the sum of 3 3 , 4', 5 3 , the 
numbers 3, 4, 5 representing the Pythagorean triangle, of which 
the sides when squared equal the square of the hypotenuse (3 2 + 4* 
= 5 2 ) : (4) that it is also the period of the Pythagorean Metempsy- 
chosis : (5) the three ultimate terms or bases (3, 4, 5) of which 
216 is composed answer to the third, fourth, fifth in the musical 
scale : (6) that the number 216 is the product of the cubes of 2 and 
3, which are the two last terms in the Platonic Tetractys : (7) that 
the Pythagorean triangle is said by Plutarch (de Is. et Osir., 373 E), 
Proclus (super prima Eucl. iv. p. in), and Quintilian (de Musica 
iii. p. 152) to be contained in this passage, so that the tradition of 
the school seems to point in the same direction : (8) that the 
Pythagorean triangle is called also the figure of marriage (ya/^Xtoi/ 


But though agreeing with Dr. Donaldson thus far, I see no 
reason for supposing, as he does, that the first or perfect number 
is the world, the human or imperfect number the state ; nor has 
he given any proof that the second harmony is a cube. Nor do 
I think that dpp^rwi/ Se v*lv can mean 'two incommensurables,' 
which he arbitrarily assumes to be 2 and 3, but rather, as the 
preceding clause implies, dvelv dptdnolv OTTO dpprjrav Sia/ieVpooi/ TTffj.- 

TrdSos, i. e. two square numbers based upon irrational diameters of 
a figure the side of which is 5 = 50 x 2. 

The greatest objection to the translation is the sense given to 
the words eV/rpiroff irvdfjLT]v K.T.A., 'a base of three with a third 
added to it, multiplied by 5.' In this somewhat forced manner 
Plato introduces once more the numbers of the Pythagorean 
triangle. But the coincidences in the numbers which follow are 
in favour of the explanation. The first harmony of 400, as has 
been already remarked, probably represents the rulers; the 
second and oblong harmony of 7600, the people. 

And here we take leave of the difficulty. The discovery of 
the riddle would be useless, and would throw no light on 
ancient mathematics. The point of interest is that Plato should 
have used such a symbol, and that so much of the Pythagorean 
spirit should have prevailed in him. His general meaning is 
that divine creation is perfect, and is represented or presided 

The Number of the State. cxxxv 

over by a perfect or cyclical number; human generation is im- Republic 
perfect, and represented or presided over by an imperfect number 
or series of numbers. The number 5040, which is the number 
of the citizens in the Laws, is expressly based by him on utilitarian 
grounds, namely, the convenience of the number for division ; it 
is also made up of the first seven digits multiplied by one another. 
The contrast of the perfect and imperfect number may have been 
easily suggested by the corrections of the cycle, which were made 
first by Meton and secondly by Callippus ; (the latter is said to 
have been a pupil of Plato). Of the degree of importance or of 
exactness to be attributed to the problem, the number of the tyrant 
in Book ix. (729 = 365 x 2), and the slight correction of the error in 
the number 5040^12 (Laws, 771 C), may furnish a criterion. 
There is nothing surprising in the circumstance that those who 
were seeking for order in nature and had found order in number, 
should have imagined one to give law to the other. Plato believes 
in a power of number far beyond what he could see realized in the 
world around him, and he knows the great influence which ' the 
little matter of i, 2, 3 ' (vii. 522 C) exercises upon education. He 
may even be thought to have a prophetic anticipation of the dis- 
coveries of Quetelet and others, that numbers depend upon num- 
bers; e.g. in population, the numbers of births and the respective 
numbers of children born of either sex, on the respective ages of 
parents, i.e. on other numbers. 

Steph. BOOK IX. Last of all comes the tyrannical man, about whom ANALYSIS. 
5' 1 we have to enquire, Whence is he, and how does he live in 
happiness or in misery ? There is, however, a previous question 
of the nature and number of the appetites, which I should like to 
consider first. Some of them are unlawful, and yet admit of being 
chastened and weakened in various degrees by the power of reason 
and law. ' What appetites do you mean ? ' I mean those which 
are awake when the reasoning powers are asleep, which get up and 
walk about naked without any self-respect or shame ; and there is 
no conceivable folly or crime, however cruel or unnatural, of which, 
in imagination, they may not be guilty. ' True,' he said ; * very 
true.' But when a man's pulse beats temperately; and he has 
supped on a feast of reason and come to a knowledge of himself 

cxxxvi Analysis 572-574. 

Republic before going to rest, and has satisfied his desires just enough to 572 
ANALYSIS P revent t ^ ie ^ r perturbing his reason, which remains clear and 
luminous, and when he is free from quarrel and heat, the visions 
which he has on his bed are least irregular and abnormal. Even 
in good men there is such an irregular wild-beast nature, which 
peers out in sleep. 

To return : You remember what was said of the democrat ; 
that he was the son of a miserly father, who encouraged the 
saving desires and repressed the ornamental and expensive ones ; 
presently the youth got into fine company, and began to entertain a 
dislike to his father's narrow ways ; and being a better man than 
the corrupters of his youth, he came to a mean, and led a life, not 
of lawless or slavish passion, but of regular and successive indul- 
gence. Now imagine that the youth has become a father, and has 
a son who is exposed to the same temptations, and has companions 
who lead him into every sort of iniquity, and parents and friends 
who try to keep him right. The counsellors of evil find that their 573 
only chance of retaining him is to implant in his soul a monster 
drone, or love ; while other desires buzz around him and mystify 
him with sweet sounds and scents, this monster love takes pos- 
session of him, and puts an end to every true or modest thought 
or wish. Love, like drunkenness and madness, is a tyranny ; and 
the tyrannical man, whether made by nature or habit, is just a 
drinking, lusting, furious sort of animal. 

And how does such an one live ? * Nay, that you must tell me.' 
Well then, I fancy that he will live amid revelries and harlotries, 
and love will be the lord and master of the house. Many desires 
require much money, and so he spends all that he has and 
borrows more ; and when he has nothing the young ravens are 
still in the nest in which they were hatched, crying for food. Love 574 
urges them on ; and they must be gratified by force or fraud, or if 
not, they become painful and troublesome; and as the new 
pleasures succeed the old ones, so will the son take possession of 
the goods of his parents ; if they show signs of refusing, he will 
defraud and deceive them ; and if they openly resist, what then ? 
' I can only say, that I should not much like to be in their place.' But, 
O heavens, Adeimantus, to think that for some new-fangled and 
unnecessary love he will give up his old father and mother, best 
and dearest of friends, or enslave them to the fancies of the hour ! 

Analysis 574-577. cxxxvii 

Truly a tyrannical son is a blessing to his father and mother! Republic 


When there is no more to be got out of them, he turns burglar or 

pickpocket, or robs a temple. Love overmasters the thoughts of 
his youth, and he becomes in sober reality the monster that he 

575 was sometimes in sleep. He waxes strong in all violence and 
lawlessness ; and is ready for any deed of daring that will 
supply the wants of his rabble-rout. In a well-ordered State 
there are only a few such, and these in time of war go out and 
become the mercenaries of a tyrant. But in time of peace they 
stay at home and do mischief; they are the thieves, footpads, 
cut-purses, man-stealers of the community ; or if they are able 
to speak, they turn false-witnesses and informers. ' No small 
catalogue of crimes truly, even if the perpetrators are few.' Yes, I 
said ; but small and great are relative terms, and no crimes which 
are committed by them approach those of the tyrant, whom this 
class, growing strong and numerous, create out of themselves. If 
the people yield, well and good ; but, if they resist, then, as before 
he beat his father and mother, so now he beats his fatherland and 
motherland, and places his mercenaries over them. Such men in 
their early days live with flatterers, and they themselves flatter 

576 others, in order to gain their ends ; but they soon discard their 
followers when they have no longer any need of them ; they are 
always either masters or servants, the joys of friendship are 
unknown to them. And they are utterly treacherous and unjust, 
if the nature of justice be at all understood by us. They realize 
our dream ; and he who is the most of a tyrant by nature, and 
leads the life of a tyrant for the longest time, will be the worst 
of them, and being the worst of them, will also be the most 

Like man, like State, the tyrannical man will answer to tyranny, 
which is the extreme opposite of the royal State ; for one is the 
best and the other the worst. But which is the happier ? Great 
and terrible as the tyrant may appear enthroned amid his satel- 
lites, let us not be afraid to go in and ask ; and the answer is, that 
the monarchical is the happiest, and the tyrannical the most 

577 miserable of States. And may we not ask the same question 
about the men themselves, requesting some one to look into them 
who is able to penetrate the inner nature of man, and will not be 
panic-struck by the vain pomp of tyranny ? I will suppose that he 

cxxxviii Analysis 577-579. 

Republic is one who has lived with him, and has seen him in family life, 
or perhaps in the hour of trouble and danger. 


Assuming that we ourselves are the impartial judge for whom 
we seek, let us begin by comparing the individual and State, and ' 
ask first of all, whether the State is likely to be free or enslaved 
Will there not be a little freedom and a great deal of slavery ? And 
the freedom is of the bad, and the slavery of the good ; and this 
applies to the man as well as to the State ; for his soul is full of 
meanness and slavery, and the better part is enslaved to the 
worse. He cannot do what he would, and his mind is full of con- 
fusion ; he is the very reverse of a freeman. The State will be 578 
poor and full of misery and sorrow ; and the man's soul will also 
be poor and full of sorrows, and he will be the most miserable of 
men. No, not the most miserable, for there is yet a more miser- 
able. ' Who is that ? ' The tyrannical man who has the misfortune 
also to become a public tyrant. ' There I suspect that you are 
right.' Say rather, ' I am sure ;' conjecture is out of place in an 
enquiry of this nature. He is like a wealthy owner of slaves, 
only he has more of them than any private individual. You will 
say, ' The owners of slaves are not generally in any fear of them.' 
But why ? Because the whole city is in a league which protects 
the individual. Suppose however that one of these owners and 
his household is carried off by a god into a wilderness, where there 
are no freemen to help him will he not be in an agony of terror ? 
will he not be compelled to flatter his slaves and to promise them 579 
many things sore against his will ? And suppose the same god 
who carried him off were to surround him with neighbours who 
declare that no man ought to have slaves, and that the owners of 
them should be punished with death. * Still worse and worse ! 
He will be in the midst of his enemies.' And is not our tyrant 
such a captive soul, who is tormented by a swarm of passions 
which he cannot indulge ; living indoors always like a woman, and 
jealous of those who can go out and see the world ? 

Having so many evils, will not the most miserable of men be 
still more miserable in a public station ? Master of others when 
he is not master of himself; like a sick man who is compelled to be 
an athlete ; the meanest of slaves and the most abject of flatterers ; 
wanting all things, and never able to satisfy his desires ; always in 
fear and distraction, like the State of which he is the representative. 

Analysis 580-583. cxxxix 

580 His jealous, hateful, faithless temper grows worse with com- Republic 
mand ; he is more and more faithless, envious, unrighteous, the 

most wretched of men, a misery to himself and to others. And 
so let us have a final trial and proclamation ; need we hire a 
herald, or shall I proclaim the result ? < Make the proclamation 
yourself.' The son of Ariston (the best] is of opinion that the best 
and justest of men is also the happiest^ and that this is he who is the 
most royal master of himself j and that the unjust man is he who is 
the greatest tyrant of himself and of his State. And I add further 
* seen or unseen by gods or men? 

This is our first proof. The second is derived from the three 
kinds of pleasure, which answer to the three elements of the soul 

581 reason, passion, desire ; under which last is comprehended 
avarice as well as sensual appetite, while passion includes am- 
bition, party-feeling, love of reputation. Reason, again, is solely 
directed to the attainment of truth, and careless of money and 
reputation. In accordance with the difference of men's natures, 
one of these three principles is in the ascendant, and they have 
their several pleasures corresponding to them. Interrogate now 
the three natures, and each one will be found praising his own 
pleasures and depreciating those of others. The money-maker 
will contrast the vanity of knowledge with the solid advantages of 
wealth. The ambitious man will despise knowledge which brings 
no honour ; whereas the philosopher will regard only the fruition 
of truth, and will call other pleasures necessary rather than good. 

582 Now, how shall we decide between them ? Is there any better 
criterion than experience and knowledge? And which of the 
three has the truest knowledge and the widest experience ? The 
experience of youth makes the philosopher acquainted with the 
two kinds of desire, but the avaricious and the ambitious man never 
taste the pleasures of truth and wisdom. Honour he has equally 
with them; they are 'judged of him,' but he is 'not judged of 
them,' for they never attain to the knowledge of true being. And 
his instrument is reason, whereas their standard is only wealth 
and honour ; and if by reason we are to judge, his good will be the 
truest. And so we arrive at the result that the pleasure of the 
rational part .of the soul, and a life passed in such pleasure is the 

583 pleasantest. He who has a right to judge judges thus. Next comes 
the life of ambition, and, in the third place, that of money-making. 

cxl Analysis 583-585. 

Republic Twice has the just man overthrown the unjust once more, as in 
ANALYSIS. an Oty m P ian contest, first offering up a prayer to the saviour Zeus, 
let him try a fall. A wise man whispers to me that the pleasures 
of the wise are true and pure ; all others are a shadow only. Let 
us examine this : Is not pleasure opposed to pain, and is there not 
a mean state which is neither ? When a man is sick, nothing is 
more pleasant to him than health. But this he never found out 
while he was well. In pain he desires only to cease from pain; on 
the other hand, when he is in an ecstasy of pleasure, rest is painful 
to him. Thus rest or cessation is both pleasure and pain. But 
can that which is neither become both ? Again, pleasure and pain 
are motions, and the absence of them is rest ; but if so, how can 584 
the absence of either of them be the other ? Thus we are led to 
infer that the contradiction is an appearance only, and witchery of 
the senses. And these are not the only pleasures, for there are 
others which have no preceding pains. Pure pleasure then is not 
the absence of pain, nor pure pain the absence of pleasure ; 
although most of the pleasures which reach the mind through 
the body are reliefs of pain, and have not only their reactions when 
they depart, but their anticipations before they come. They can 
be best described in a simile. There is in nature an upper, lower, 
and middle region, and he who passes from the lower to the 
middle imagines that he is going up and is already in the upper 
world ; and if he were taken back again would think, and truly 
think, that he was descending. All this arises out of his ignorance 
of the true upper, middle, and lower regions. And a like confu- 
sion happens with pleasure and pain, and with many other things. 
The man who compares grey with black, calls grey white ; and 585 
the man who compares absence of pain with pain, calls the absence 
of pain pleasure. Again, hunger and thirst are inanitions of the 
body, ignorance and folly of the soul ; and food is the satisfaction 
of the one, knowledge of the other. Now which is the purer 
satisfaction that of eating and drinking, or that of knowledge? 
Consider the matter thus : The satisfaction of that which has more 
existence is truer than of that which has less. The invariable and 
immortal has a more real existence than the variable and mortal, 
and has a corresponding measure of knowledge and truth. The 
soul, again, has more existence and truth and knowledge than the 
body, and is therefore more really satisfied and has a more 

Analysis 586-588. cxli 

586 natural pleasure. Those who feast only on earthly food, are Republic 


always going at random up to the middle and down again ; but 
they never pass into the true upper world, or have a taste of true 
pleasure. They are like fatted beasts, full of gluttony and sensua- 
lity, and ready to kill one another by reason of their insatiable 
lust ; for they are not filled with true being, and their vessel is 
leaky (cp. Gorgias, 243 A, foil.). Their pleasures are mere 
shadows of pleasure, mixed with pain, coloured and intensified by 
contrast, and therefore intensely desired ; and men go fighting 
about them, as Stesichorus says that the Greeks fought about the 
shadow of Helen at Troy, because they know not the truth. 

The same may be said of the passionate element : the desires 
of the ambitious soul, as well as of the covetous, have an inferior 
satisfaction. Only when under the guidance of reason do either of 

587 the other principles do their own business or attain the pleasure 
which is natural to them. When not attaining, they compel the 
other parts of the soul to pursue a shadow of pleasure which is not 
theirs. And the more distant they are from philosophy and 
reason, the more distant they will be from law and order, and 
the more illusive will be their pleasures. The desires of love 
and tyranny are the farthest from law, and those of the king 
are nearest to it. There is one genuine pleasure, and two 
spurious ones : the tyrant goes beyond even the latter ; he has 
run away altogether from law and reason. Nor can the measure 
of his inferiority be told, except in a figure. The tyrant is the 
third removed from the oligarch, and has therefore, not a shadow 
of his pleasure, but the shadow of a shadow only. The oligarch, 
again, is thrice removed from the king, and thus we get the for- 
mula 3x3, which is the number of a surface, representing the 
shadow which is the tyrant's pleasure, and if you like to cube 
this f number of the beast,' you will find that the measure of 
the difference amounts to 729 ; the king is 729 times more happy 
than the tyrant. And this extraordinary number is nearly equal 
to the number of days and nights in a year (365 x 2 = 730) ; and 

588 is therefore concerned with human life. This is the interval 
between a good and bad man in happiness only : what must 
be the difference between them in comeliness of life and virtue ! 

Perhaps you may remember some one saying at the beginning 
of our discussion that the unjust man was profited if he had the 

cxlii Analysis 588-590. 

Republic reputation of justice. Now that we know the nature of justice 
ANALYSIS and i n j ust i ce i let us make an image of the soul, which will 
personify his words. First of all, fashion a multitudinous beast, 
having a ring of heads of all manner of animals, tame and wild, 
and able to produce and change them at pleasure. Suppose 
now another form of a lion, and another of a man ; the second 
smaller than the first, the third than the second ; join them 
together and cover them with a human skin, in which they are 
completely concealed. When this has been done, let us tell 
the supporter of injustice that he is feeding up the beasts and 589 
starving the man. The maintainer of justice, on the other hand, 
is trying to strengthen the man ; he is nourishing the gentle 
principle within him, and making an alliance with the lion heart, 
in order that he may be able to keep down the many-headed 
hydra, and bring all into unity with each other and with them- 
selves. Thus in every point of view, whether in relation to 
pleasure, honour, or advantage, the just man is right, and the 
unjust wrong. 

But now, let us reason with the unjust, who is not intentionally 
in error. Is not the noble that which subjects the beast to the 
man, or rather to the God in man ; the ignoble, that which sub- 
jects the man to the beast ? And if so, who would receive gold on 
condition that he was to degrade the noblest part of himself under 
the worst? who would sell his son or daughter into the hands 
of brutal and evil men, for any amount of money ? And will 
he sell his own fairer and diviner part without any compunction 
to the most godless and foul ? Would he not be worse than 590 
Eriphyle, who sold her husband's life for a necklace ? And in- 
temperance is the letting loose of the multiform monster, and 
pride and sullenness are the growth and increase of the lion 
and serpent element, while luxury and effeminacy are caused 
by a too great relaxation of spirit. Flattery and meanness again 
arise when the spirited element is subjected to avarice, and the 
lion is habituated to become a monkey. The real disgrace of 
handicraft arts is, that those who are engaged in them have 
to flatter, instead of mastering their desires ; therefore we say 
that they should be placed under the control of the better prin- 
ciple in another because they have none in themselves ; not, as 
Thrasymachus imagined, to the injury of the subjects, but for 

Analysis 591, 592. cxliii 

their good. And our intention in educating the young, is to Republic 

591 give them self-control; the law desires to nurse up in them a ANALY ' SIS 
higher principle, and when they have acquired this, they may 

go their ways. 

' What, then, shall a man profit, if he gain the whole world ' 
and become more and more wicked ? Or what shall he profit by 
escaping discovery, if the concealment of evil prevents the cure ? 
If he had been punished, the brute within him would have been 
silenced, and the gentler element liberated ; and he would have 
united temperance, justice, and wisdom in his soul a union 
better far than any combination of bodily gifts. The man of 
understanding will honour knowledge above all ; in the next place 
he will keep under his body, not only for the sake of health 
and strength, but in order to attain the most perfect harmony 
of body and soul. In the acquisition of riches, too, he will aim 
at order and harmony ; he will not desire to heap up wealth 
without measure, but he will fear that the increase of wealth 
will disturb the constitution of his own soul. For the same 

592 reason he will only accept such honours as will make him a 
better man ; any others he will decline. ' In that case,' said he, 
' he will never be a politician.' Yes, but he will, in his own city ; 
though probably not in his native country, unless by some divine 
accident. ' You mean that he will be a citizen of the ideal city, 
which has no place upon earth.' But in heaven, I replied, 
there is a pattern of such a city, and he who wishes may order 
his life after that image. Whether such a state is or ever will 
be matters not; he will act according to that pattern and no 

The most noticeable points in the 9th Book of the Republic INTRODUC- 
are : (i) the account of pleasure ; (2) the number of the interval 
which divides the king from the tyrant ; (3) the pattern which is in 

i. Plato's account of pleasure is remarkable for moderation, 
and in this respect contrasts with the later Platonists and the 
views which are attributed to them by Aristotle. He is not, 
like the Cynics, opposed to all pleasure, but rather desires that 
the several parts of the soul shall have their natural satisfac- 
tion ; he even agrees with the Epicureans in describing pleasure 

cxliv Plato 's Account of pleasure. 

Republic as something more than the absence of pain. This is proved 
INTRODUC- by tne circumstance tnat there are pleasures which have no 
TION. antecedent pains (as he also remarks in the Philebus), such as 
the pleasures of smell, and also the pleasures of hope and an- 
ticipation. In the previous book (pp. 558, 559) he had made the 
distinction between necessary and unnecessary pleasure, which is 
repeated by Aristotle, and he now observes that there are a 
further class of ' wild beast ' pleasures, corresponding to Aris- 
totle's 0T)pioTT)s. He dwells upon the relative and unreal character 
of sensual pleasures and the illusion which arises out of the 
contrast of pleasure and pain, pointing out the superiority of 
the pleasures of reason, which are at rest, over the fleeting 
pleasures of sense and emotion. The pre-eminence of royal 
pleasure is shown by the fact that reason is able to form, a 
judgment of the lower pleasures, while the two lower parts of 
the soul are incapable of judging the pleasures of reason. Thus, 
in his treatment of pleasure, as in many other subjects, the 
philosophy of Plato is ' sawn up into quantities ' by Aristotle ; 
the analysis which was originally made by him became in the 
next generation the foundation of further technical distinctions. 
Both in Plato and Aristotle we note the illusion under which 
the ancients fell of regarding the transience of pleasure as a proof 
of its unreality, and of confounding the permanence of the in- 
tellectual pleasures with the unchangeableness of the knowledge 
from which they are derived. Neither do we like to admit that 
the pleasures of knowledge, though more elevating, are not 
more lasting than other pleasures, and are almost equally de- 
pendent on the accidents of our bodily state (cp. Introd. to 

2. The number of the interval which separates the king from 
the tyrant, and royal from tyrannical pleasures, is 729, the cube 
of 9, which Plato characteristically designates as a number con- 
cerned with human life, because nearly equivalent to the number 
of days and nights in the year. He is desirous of proclaiming 
that the interval between them is immeasurable, and invents a 
formula to give expression to his idea. Those who spoke of 
justice as a cube, of virtue as an art of measuring (Prot. 357 A), 
saw no inappropriateness in conceiving the soul under the figure 
of a line, or the pleasure of the tyrant as separated from the 

* The kingdom of heaven is within you' cxlv 

pleasure of the king by the numerical interval of 729. And in Republic 
modern times we sometimes use metaphorically what Plato lNTRO p UC 
employed as a philosophical formula. ' It is not easy to estimate TION - 
the loss of the tyrant, except perhaps in this way,' says Plato. 
So we might say, that although the life of a good man is not 
to be compared to that of a bad man, yet you may measure the 
diiference between them by valuing one minute of the one at 
an hour of the other (' One day in thy courts is better than a 
thousand '), or you might say that ' there is an infinite diiference.' 
But this is not so much as saying, in homely phrase, * They are 
a thousand miles asunder.' And accordingly Plato finds the 
natural vehicle of his thoughts in a progression of numbers; 
this arithmetical formula he draws out with the utmost serious- 
ness, and both here and in the number of generation seems to 
find an additional proof of the truth of his speculation in forming 
the number into a geometrical figure ; just as persons in our own 
day are apt to fancy that a statement is verified when it has been 
only thrown into an abstract form. In speaking of the number 
729 as proper to human life, he probably intended to intimate 
that one year of the tyrannical = 12 hours of the royal life. 

The simple observation that the comparison of two similar solids 
is effected by the comparison of the cubes of their sides, is the 
mathematical groundwork of this fanciful expression. There is 
some difficulty in explaining the steps by which the number 
729 is obtained ; the oligarch is removed in the third degree 
from the royal and aristocratical, and the tyrant in the third 
degree from the oligarchical ; but we have to arrange the terms 
as the sides of a square and to count the oligarch twice over, 
thus reckoning them not as = 5 but as = 9. The square of 9 is 
passed lightly over as only a step towards the cube. 

3. Towards the close of the Republic, Plato seems to be more 
and more convinced of the ideal character of his own specula- 
tions. At the end of the 9th Book the pattern which is in heaven 
takes the place of the city of philosophers on earth. The vision 
which has received form and substance at his hands, is now 
discovered to be at a distance. And yet this distant kingdom 
is also the rule of man's life (Bk. vii. 540 E). (' Say not lo ! 
here, or lo ! there, for the kingdom of God is within you.') Thus 
a note is struck which prepares for the revelation of a future 


cxlvi Analysis 595-597. 

Republic life in the following Book. But the future life is present still ; the 


T y 

ideal of politics is to be realized in the individual. 

ANALYSIS. BOOK X. Many things pleased me in the order of our State, Steph. 
but there was nothing which I liked better than the regulation 595 
about poetry. The division of the soul throws a new light on 
our exclusion of imitation. I do not mind telling you in confi- 
dence that all poetry is an outrage on the understanding, unless 
the hearers have that balm of knowledge which heals error. 
I have loved Homer ever since I was a boy, and even now he 
appears to me to be the great master of tragic poetry. But 
much as I love the man, I love truth more, and therefore I 
must speak out : and first of all, will you explain what is imita- 
tion, for really I do not understand ? ' How likely then that I 
should understand ! ' That might very well be, for the duller often 596 
sees better than the keener eye. 'True, but in your presence 
I can hardly venture to say what I think.' Then suppose that 
we begin in our old fashion, with the doctrine of universals. 
Let us assume the existence of beds and tables. There is one 
idea of a bed, or of a table, which the maker of each had in 
his mind when making them ; he did not make the ideas of beds 
and tables, but he made beds and tables according to the ideas. 
And is there not a maker of the works of all workmen, who 
makes not only vessels but plants and animals, himself, the 
earth and heaven, and things in heaven and under the earth? 
He makes the Gods also. ' He must be a wizard indeed ! ' But 
do you not see that there is a sense in which you could dp 
the same ? You have only to take a mirror, and catch the 
reflection of the sun, and the earth, or anything else there now 
you have made them. ' Yes, but only in appearance.' Exactly so ; 
and the painter is such a creator as you are with the mirror, and 
he is even more unreal than the carpenter; although neither 
the carpenter nor any other artist can be supposed to make 597 
the absolute bed. ' Not if philosophers may be believed.' Nor 
need we wonder that his bed has but an imperfect relation to 
the truth. Reflect : Here are three beds ; one in nature, which 
is made by God ; another, which is made by the carpenter ; and 
the third, by the painter. God only made one, nor could he 
have made more than one; for if there had been two, there 

Analysis 597-600. cxlvii 

would always have been a third more absolute and abstract Republic 
than either, under which they would have been included. We X ' 


may therefore conceive God to be the natural maker of the bed, 
and in a lower sense the carpenter is also the maker ; but the 
painter is rather the imitator of what the other two make ; he 
has to do with a creation which is thrice removed from reality. 
And the tragic poet is an imitator, and, like every other imitator, 
is thrice removed from the king and from the truth. The painter 

598 imitates not the original bed, but the bed made by the carpenter. 
And this, without being really different, appears to be different, 
and has many points of view, of which only one is caught by 
the painter, who represents everything because he represents 
a piece of everything, and that piece an image. And he can 
paint any other artist, although he knows nothing of their arts ; and 
this with sufficient skill to deceive children or simple people. 
Suppose now that somebody came to us and told us, how he 
had met a man who knew all that everybody knows, and better 
than anybody : should we not infer him to be a simpleton who, 
having no discernment of truth and falsehood, had met with a 
wizard or enchanter, whom he fancied to be all-wise ? And when 
we hear persons saying that Homer and the tragedians know 
all the arts and all the virtues, must we not infer that they are 

599 under a similar delusion ? they do not see that the poets are 
imitators, and that their creations are only imitations. 'Very 
true.' But if a person could create as well as imitate, he would 
rather leave some permanent work and not an imitation only; 
he would rather be the receiver than the giver of praise ? ' Yes, 
for then he would have more honour and advantage.' 

Let us now interrogate Homer and the poets. Friend Homer, 
say I to him, I am not going to ask you about medicine, or any 
art to which your poems incidentally refer, but about their 
main subjects war, military tactics, politics. If you are only 
twice and not thrice removed from the truth not an imitator 
or an image-maker, please to inform us what good you have ever 
done to mankind ? Is there any city which professes to have 
received laws from you, as Sicily and Italy have from Charondas, 

600 Sparta from Lycurgus, Athens from Solon ? Or was any war 
ever carried on by your counsels ? or is any invention attributed 
to you, as there is to Thales and Anacharsis ? Or is there any 


cxlviii Analysis 600-602. 

Republic Homeric way of life, such as the Pythagorean was, in which you 
ANALYSIS ^ nstructe ^ men, and which is called after you ? * No, indeed ; 
and Creophylus [Flesh-child] was even more unfortunate in his 
breeding than he was in his name, if, as tradition says, Homer in 
his lifetime was allowed by him and his other friends to starve.' 
Yes, but could this ever have happened if Homer had really 
been the educator of Hellas? Would he not have had many 
devoted followers? If Protagoras and Prodicus can persuade 
their contemporaries that no one can manage house or State 
without them, is it likely that Homer and Hesiod would have 
been allowed to go about as beggars I mean if they had really 
been able to do the world any good? would not men have 
compelled them to stay where they were, or have followed 
them about in order to get education? But they did not; and 
therefore we may infer that Homer and all the poets are only 
imitators, who do but imitate the appearances of things. For 60 1 
as a painter by a knowledge of figure and colour can paint a 
cobbler without any practice in cobbling, so the poet can de- 
lineate any art in the colours of language, and give harmony and 
rhythm to the cobbler and also to the general ; and you know 
how mere narration, when deprived of the ornaments of metre, 
is like a face which has lost the beauty of youth and never had 
any other. Once more, the imitator has no knowledge of reality, 
but only of appearance. The painter paints, and the artificer 
makes a bridle and reins, but neither understands the use of 
them the knowledge of this is confined to the horseman ; and 
so of other things. Thus we have three arts : one of use, an- 
other of invention, a third of imitation ; and the user furnishes 
the rule to the two others. The flute-player will know the 
good and bad flute, and the maker will put faith in him ; but 
the imitator will neither know nor have faith neither science 602 
nor true opinion can be ascribed to him. Imitation, then, is 
devoid of knowledge, being only a kind of play or sport, and 
the tragic and epic poets are imitators in the highest degree. 

And now let us enquire, what is the faculty in man which 
answers to imitation. Allow me to explain my meaning : Ob- 
jects are differently seen when in the water and when out of 
the water, when near and when at a distance ; and the painter 
or juggler makes use of this variation to impose upon us. And 

Analysis 602-605. cxlix 

the art of measuring and weighing and calculating comes in to Republic 
save our bewildered minds from the power of appearance ; for, ' 

603 as we were saying, two contrary opinions of the same about 
the same and at the same time, cannot both of them be true. 
But which of them is true is determined by the art of calcula- 
tion ; and this is allied to the better faculty in the soul, as the 
arts of imitation are to the worse. And the same holds of the 
ear as well as of the eye, of poetry as well as painting. The 
imitation is of actions voluntary or involuntary, in which there 
is an expectation of a good or bad result, and present experience 
of pleasure and pain. But is a man in harmony with himself 
when he is the subject of these conflicting influences ? Is there 
not rather a contradiction in him ? Let me further ask, whether 

604 he is more likely to control sorrow when he is alone or when 
he is in company. 'In the latter case.' Feeling would lead 
him to indulge his sorrow, but reason and law control him 
and enjoin patience ; since he cannot know whether his afflic- 
tion is good or evil, and no human thing is of any great 
consequence, while sorrow is certainly a hindrance to good 
counsel. For when we stumble, we should not, like children, 
make an uproar; we should take the measures which reason 
prescribes, not raising a lament, but finding a cure. And the 
better part of us is ready to follow reason, while the irrational 
principle is full of sorrow and distraction at the recollection of 
our troubles. Unfortunately, however, this latter furnishes the 
chief materials of the imitative arts. Whereas reason is ever 
in repose and cannot easily be displayed, especially to a mixed 

'605 multitude who have no experience of her. Thus the poet is 
like the painter in two ways : first he paints an inferior degree 
of truth, and secondly, he is concerned with an inferior part 
of the soul. He indulges the feelings, while he enfeebles the 
reason ; and we refuse to allow him to have authority over the 
mind of man ; for he has no measure of greater and less, and 
is a maker of images and very far gone from truth. 

But we have not yet mentioned the heaviest count in the 
indictment the power which poetry has of injuriously exciting 
the feelings. When we hear some passage in which a hero 
laments his sufferings at tedious length, you know that we 
sympathize with him and praise the poet ; and yet in our own 

cl Analysis 605-608. 

Republic sorrows such an exhibition of feeling is regarded as effeminate 
ANALYSIS and unmanlv ( C P- I n > 535 E). Now, ought a man to feel pleasure 
in seeing another do what he hates and abominates in himself? 
Is he not giving way to a sentiment which in his own case he 606 
would control? he is off his guard because the sorrow is an- 
other's ; and he thinks that he may indulge his feelings without 
disgrace, and will be the gainer by the pleasure. But the in- 
evitable consequence is that he who begins by weeping at the 
sorrows of others, will end by weeping at his own. The same 
is true of comedy, you may often laugh at buffoonery which 
you would be ashamed to utter, and the love of coarse merri- 
ment on the stage will at last turn you into a buffoon at home. 
Poetry feeds and waters the passions and desires ; she lets 
them rule instead of ruling them. And therefore, when we 
hear the encomiasts of Homer affirming that he is the educator 
of Hellas, and that all life should be regulated by his precepts, 607 
we may allow the excellence of their intentions, and agree with 
them in thinking Homer a great poet and tragedian. But we 
shall continue to prohibit all poetry which goes beyond hymns 
to the Gods and praises of famous men. Not pleasure and pain, 
but law and reason shall rule in our State. 

These are our grounds for expelling poetry ; but lest she 
should charge us with discourtesy, let us also make an apology 
to her. We will remind her that there is an ancient quarrel 
between poetry and philosophy, of which there are many traces 
in the writings of the poets, such as the saying of ' the she-dog, 
yelping at her mistress,' and 'the philosophers who are ready 
to circumvent Zeus,' and 'the philosophers who are paupers.' 
Nevertheless we bear her no ill-will, and will gladly allow her to 
return upon condition that she makes a defence of herself in 
verse ; and her supporters who are not poets may speak in prose. 
We confess her charms; but if she cannot show that she is 
useful as well as delightful, like rational lovers, we must re- 
nounce our love, though endeared to us by early associations. 
Having come to years of discretion, we know that poetry is not 608 
truth, and that a man should be careful how he introduces her 
to that state or constitution which he himself is ; for there is a 
mighty issue at stake no less than the good or evil of a human 
soul. And it is not worth while to forsake justice and virtue 

A na lysis 608-611. cl L 

for the attractions of poetry, any more than for the sake of Republic 
honour or wealth. 'I agree with you.' AKALYSIS. 

And yet the rewards of virtue are greater far than I have 
described. ' And can we conceive things greater still ? ' Not, 
perhaps, in this brief span of life : but should an immortal being 
care about anything short of eternity? 'I do not understand 
what you mean ? ' Do you not know that the soul is immortal I 
1 Surely you are not prepared to prove that ? * Indeed I am, 
' Then let me hear this argument, of which you make so light* 

609 You would admit that everything has an element of good and 
of evil In all things there is an inherent corruption ; and if this 
cannot destroy them, nothing else will. The soul too has her 
own corrupting principles, which are injustice, intemperance, 
cowardice, and the like. But none of these destroy the soul in 
the same sense that disease destroys the body. The soul may be 
full of all iniquities, but is not, by reason of them, brought any 
nearer to death. Nothing which was not destroyed from within 
ever perished by external affection of evil. The body, which 

610 is one thing, cannot be destroyed by food, which is another, 
unless the badness of the food is communicated to the body. 
Neither can the soul, which is one thing, be corrupted by the 
body, which is another, unless she herself is infected. And 
as no bodily evil can infect the soul, neither can any bodily 
evil, whether disease or violence, or any other destroy the soul, 
unless it can be shown to render her unholy and unjust. But 
no one will ever prove that the souls of men become more un- 
just when they die. If a person has the audacity to say the 
contrary, the answer is Then why do criminals require the 
hand of the executioner, and not die of themselves? 'Truly/ 
he said, 'injustice would not be very terrible if it brought a 
cessation of evil ; but I rather believe that the injustice which 
murders others may tend to quicken and stimulate the life of the 
unjust.' You are quite right. If sin which is her own natural and 
inherent evil cannot destroy the soul, hardly will anything else 

6 1 I destroy her. But the soul which cannot be destroyed either by 
internal or external evil must be immortal and everlasting. And 
if this be true, souls will always exist in the same number. They 
cannot diminish, because they cannot be destroyed ; nor yet in- 
crease, for the increase of the immortal must come from some- 

clii Analysis 611-614. 

Republic thing mortal, and so all would end in immortality. Neither is 
ANAIYSIS. the soul var ^^ e anc * diverse ; for that which is immortal must 
be of the fairest and simplest composition. If we would conceive 
her truly, and so behold justice and injustice in their own 
nature, she must be viewed by the light of reason pure as at 
birth, or as she is reflected in philosophy when holding con- 
verse with the divine and immortal and eternal. In her present 
condition we see her only like the sea-god Glaucus, bruised and 
maimed in the sea which is the world, and covered with shells 612 
and stones which are incrusted upon her from the entertain- 
ments of earth. 

Thus far, as the argument required, we have said nothing of 
the rewards and honours which the poets attribute to justice ; 
we have contented ourselves with showing that justice in her- 
self is best for the soul in herself, even if a man should put on 
a Gyges' ring and have the helmet of Hades too. And now 
you shall repay me what you borrowed ; and I will enumerate 
the rewards of justice in life and after death. I granted, for 
the sake of argument, as you will remember, that evil might 
perhaps escape the knowledge of Gods and men, although this 
was really impossible. And since I have shown that justice 
has reality, you must grant me also that she has the palm of 
appearance. In the first place, the just man is known to the 
Gods, and he is therefore the friend of the Gods, and he will 613 
receive at their hands every good, always excepting such evil 
as is the necessary consequence of former sins. All things end 
in good to him, either in life or after death, even what appears 
to be evil ; for the Gods have a care of him who desires to be 
in their likeness. And what shall we say of men ? Is not 
honesty the best policy ? The clever rogue makes a great start 
at first, but breaks down before he reaches the goal, and slinks 
away in dishonour ; whereas the true runner perseveres to the 
end, and receives the prize. And you must allow me to repeat 
all the blessings which you attributed to the fortunate unjust 
they bear rule in the city, they marry and give in marriage to 
whom they will ; and the evils which you attributed to the un- 
fortunate just, do really fall in the end on the unjust, although, 
as you implied, their sufferings are better veiled in silence. 

But all the blessings of this present life are as nothing when 614 

Analysis 614-616, cliii 

compared with those which await good men after death. 'I Republic 
should like to hear about them.' Come, then, and I will tell you 


the story of Er, the son of Armenius, a valiant man. He was 
supposed to have died in battle, but ten days afterwards his body 
was found untouched by corruption and sent home for burial. 
On the twelfth day he was placed on the funeral pyre and there 
he came to life again, and told what he had seen in the world 
below. He said that his soul went with a great company to a 
place, in which there were two chasms near together in the earth 
beneath, and two corresponding chasms in the heaven above. 
And there were judges sitting in the intermediate space, bidding 
the just ascend by the heavenly way on the right hand, having 
the seal of their judgment set upon them before, while the unjust, 
having the seal behind, were bidden to descend by the way on the 
left hand. Him they told to look and listen, as he was to be their 
messenger to men from the world below. And he beheld and saw 
the souls departing after judgment at either chasm ; some who 
came from earth, were worn and travel-stained; others, who 
came from heaven, were clean and bright. They seemed glad to 
meet and rest awhile in the meadow ; here they discoursed with 

615 one another of what they had seen in the other world. Those 
who came from earth wept at the remembrance of their sorrows, 
but the spirits from above spoke of glorious sights and heavenly 
bliss. He said that for every evil deed they were punished ten- 
fold now the journey was of a thousand years' duration, because 
the life of man was reckoned as a hundred years and the re- 
wards of virtue were in the same proportion. He added some- 
thing hardly worth repeating about infants dying almost as soon 
as they were born. Of parricides and other murderers he had 
tortures still more terrible to narrate. He was present when 
one of the spirits asked Where is Ardiaeus the Great ? (This 
Ardiaeus was a cruel tyrant, who had murdered his father, and his 
elder brother, a thousand years before.) Another spirit answered, 
' He comes not hither, and will never come. And I myself,' he 
added, ' actually saw this terrible sight. At the entrance of the 
chasm, as we were about to reascend, Ardiaeus appeared, and 
some other sinners most of whom had been tyrants, but not all 
and just as they fancied that they were returning to life, the chasm 

616 gave a roar, and then wild, fiery-looking men who knew the 

cliv Analysis 616, 617. 

Republic meaning of the sound, seized him and several others, and bound 


. them hand and foot and threw them down, and dragged them 


along at the side of the road, lacerating them and carding them 
like wool, and explaining to the passers-by, that they were going 
to be cast into hell.' The greatest terror of the pilgrims as- 
cending was lest they should hear the voice, and when there 
was silence one by one they passed up with joy. To these 
sufferings there were corresponding delights. 

On the eighth day the souls of the pilgrims resumed their 
journey, and in four days came to a spot whence they looked 
down upon a line of light, in colour like a rainbow, only brighter 
and clearer. One day more brought them to the place, and they 
saw that this was the column of light which binds together the 
whole universe. The ends of the column were fastened to heaven, 
and from them hung the distaff of Necessity, on which all the 
heavenly bodies turned the hook and spindle were of adamant, 
and the whorl of a mixed substance. The whorl was in form 
like a number of boxes fitting into one another with their edges 
turned upwards, making together a single whorl which was 
pierced by the spindle. The outermost had the rim broadest, 
and the inner whorls were smaller and smaller, and had their 
rims narrower. The largest (the fixed stars) was spangled the 
seventh (the sun) was brightest the eighth (the moon) shone by 
the light of the seventh the second and fifth (Saturn and Mercury) 617 
were most like one another and yellower than the eighth the 
third (Jupiter) had the whitest light the fourth (Mars) was red 
the sixth (Venus) was in whiteness second. The whole had one 
motion, but while this was revolving in one direction the seven 
inner circles were moving in the opposite, with various degrees 
of swiftness and slowness. The spindle turned on the knees of 
Necessity, and a Siren stood hymning upon each circle, while 
Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos, the daughters of Necessity, sat on 
thrones at equal intervals, singing of past, present, and future, 
responsive to the music of the Sirens ; Clotho from time to time 
guiding the outer circle with a touch of her right hand ; Atropos 
with her left hand touching and guiding the inner circles ; Lachesis 
in turn putting forth her hand from time to time to guide both of 
them. On their arrival the pilgrims went to Lachesis, and there 
was an interpreter who arranged them, and taking from her 

Analysis 617619. civ 

knees lots, and samples of lives, got up into a pulpit and said : Republic 
'Mortal souls, hear the words of Lachesis, the daughter of Ne- 


cessity. A new period of mortal life has begun, and you may 
choose what divinity you please ; the responsibility of choosing 

618 is with you God is blameless.' After speaking thus, he cast the 
lots among them and each one took up the lot which fell near him. 
He then placed on the ground before them the samples of lives, 
many more than the souls present ; and there were all sorts of lives, 
of men and of animals. There were tyrannies ending in misery 
and exile, and lives of men and women famous for their different 
qualities ; and also mixed lives, made up of wealth and poverty, 
sickness and health. Here, Glaucon, is the great risk of human 
life, and therefore the whole of education should be directed to 
the acquisition of such a knowledge as will teach a man to refuse 
the evil and choose the good. He should know all the combina- 
tions which occur in life of beauty with poverty or with wealth, 
of knowledge with external goods, and at last choose with 
reference to the nature of the soul, regarding that only as the 
better life which makes men better, and leaving the rest. And 

619 a man must take with him an iron sense of truth and right into the 
world below, that there too he may remain undazzled by wealth 
or the allurements of evil, and be determined to avoid the extremes 
and choose the mean. For this, as the messenger reported the 
interpreter to have said, is the true happiness of man. ; and any 
one, as he proclaimed, may, if he choose with understanding, have 
a good lot, even though he come last. 'Let not the first be 
careless in his choice, nor the last despair.' He spoke ; and when 
he had spoken, he who had drawn the first lot chose, a tyranny : 
he did not see that he was fated to devour his own children and 
when he discovered his mistake, he wept and beat his breast, 
blaming chance and the Gods and anybody rather than himself. 
He was one of those who had come from heaven, and in his 
previous life had been a citizen of a well-ordered State, but he 
had only habit and no philosophy. Like many another, he made 
a bad choice, because he had no experience of life ; whereas those 
who came from earth and had seen trouble were not in such a 
hurry to choose. But if a man had followed philosophy while 
upon earth, and had been moderately fortunate in his lot, he 
might not only be happy here, but his pilgrimage both from and 

clvi Analysis 619-621. 

Republic to this world would be smooth and heavenly. Nothing was more 
ANALYSIS. cur * ous than the s P ecta cle of the choice, at once sad and laughable 
and wonderful ; most of the souls only seeking to avoid their own 
condition in a previous life. He saw the soul of Orpheus changing 620 
into a swan because he would not be born of a woman ; there was 
Thamyras becoming a nightingale ; musical birds, like the swan, 
choosing to be men ; the twentieth soul, which was that of Ajax, 
preferring the life of a lion to that of a man, in remembrance of the 
injustice which was done to him in the judgment of the arms; 
and Agamemnon, from a like enmity to human nature, passing 
into an eagle. About the middle was the soul of Atalanta choosing 
the honours of an athlete, and next to her Epeus taking the 
nature of a workwoman ; among the last was Thersites, who was 
changing himself into a monkey. Thither, the last of all, came 
Odysseus, and sought the lot of a private man, which lay neglected 
and despised, and when he found it he went away rejoicing, and 
said that if he had been first instead of last, his choice would have 
been the same. Men, too, were seen passing into animals, and 
wild and tame animals changing into one another. 

When all the souls had chosen they went to Lachesis, who sent 
with each of them their genius or attendant to fulfil their lot. He 
first of all brought them under the hand of Clotho, and drew them 
within the revolution of the spindle impelled by her hand ; from 
her they were carried to Atropos, who made the threads irre- 
versible; whence, without turning round, they passed beneath 621 
the throne of Necessity; and when they had all passed, they 
moved on in scorching heat to the plain of Forgetfulness and 
rested at evening by the river Unmindful, whose water could not 
be retained in any vessel ; of this they had all to drink a certain 
quantity some of them drank more than was required, and he 
who drank forgot all things. Er himself was prevented from 
drinking. When they had gone to rest, about the middle of the 
night there were thunderstorms and earthquakes, and suddenly 
they were all driven divers ways, shooting like stars to their 
birth. Concerning his return to the body, he only knew that 
awaking suddenly in the morning he found himself lying on the 

Thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved, and will be our salvation, 
if we believe that the soul is immortal, and hold fast to the 

Why was Plato the enemy of the poets f clvii 

heavenly way of Justice and Knowledge. So shall we pass Republic 
undefiled over the river of Forgetfulness, and be dear to ourselves ANAL y SIS 
and to the Gods, and have a crown of reward and happiness both 
in this world and also in the millennial pilgrimage of the other. 

The Tenth Book of the Republic of Plato falls into two divisions : INTRODUC- 
first, resuming an old thread which has been interrupted, 
Socrates assails the poets, who, now that the nature of the soul 
has been analyzed, are seen to be very far gone from the truth ; 
and secondly, having shown the reality of the happiness of the 
just, he demands that appearance shall be restored to him, and 
then proceeds to prove the immortality of the soul. The argu- 
ment, as in the Phaedo and Gorgias, is supplemented by the vision 
of a future life. 

Why Plato, who was himself a poet, and whose dialogues are 
poems and dramas, should have been hostile to the poets as a 
class, and especially to the dramatic poets ; why he should not 
have seen that truth may be embodied in verse as well as in 
prose, and that there are some indefinable lights and shadows 
of human life which can only be expressed in poetry some 
elements of imagination which always entwine with reason ; why 
he should have supposed epic verse to be inseparably associated 
with the impurities of the old Hellenic mythology ; why he should 
try Homer and Hesiod by the unfair and prosaic test of utility, 
are questions which have always been debated amongst students 
of Plato. Though unable to give a complete answer to them, we 
may show first, that his views arose naturally out of the circum- 
stances of his age ; and secondly, we may elicit the truth as well as 
the error which is contained in them. 

He is the enemy of the poets because poetry was declining in 
his own lifetime, and a theatrocracy, as he says in the Laws 
(iii. 701 A), had taken the place of an intellectual aristocracy. 
Euripides exhibited the last phase of the tragic drama, and in him 
Plato saw the friend and apologist of tyrants, and the Sophist 
of tragedy. The old comedy was almost extinct; the new had 
not yet arisen. Dramatic and lyric poetry, like every other 
branch of Greek literature, was falling under the power of 
rhetoric. There was no * second or third ' to ^Eschylus and 

clviii Why was Plato the enemy of the poets f 

Republic Sophocles in the generation which followed them. Aristophanes, 
INTRODUC * n one ^ n * s ^ ater comedies (Frogs, 89 foil.), speaks of ' thousands 
TION. o f tragedy-making prattlers,' whose attempts at poetry he com- 
pares to the chirping of swallows; 'their garrulity went far 
beyond Euripides,' 'they appeared once upon the stage, and 
there was an end of them.' To a man of genius who had a real 
appreciation of the godlike ^Eschylus and the noble and gentle 
Sophocles, though disagreeing with some parts of their ' theology ' 
(Rep. ii. 380), these ' minor poets ' must have been contemptible 
and intolerable. There is no feeling stronger in the dialogues of 
Plato than a sense of the decline and decay both in literature and 
in politics which marked his own age. Nor can he have been 
expected to look with favour on the licence of Aristophanes, now 
at the end of his career, who had begun by satirizing Socrates 
in the Clouds, and in a similar spirit forty years afterwards had 
satirized the founders of ideal commonwealths in his Eccleziazusae, 
or Female Parliament (cp. x. 606 C, and Laws ii. 658 ff. ; 817). 

There were other reasons for the antagonism of Plato to poetry. 
The profession of an actor was regarded by him as a degradation 
of human nature, for 'one man in his life' cannot 'play many 
parts ; ' the characters which the actor performs seem to destroy 
his own character, and to leave nothing which can be truly called 
himself. Neither can any man live his life and act it. The actor 
is the slave of his art, not the master of it. Taking this view 
Plato is more decided in his expulsion of the dramatic than of the 
epic poets, though he must have known that the "Greek tragedians 
afforded noble lessons and examples of virtue and patriotism, to 
which nothing in Homer can be compared. But great dramatic 
or even great rhetorical power is hardly consistent with firmness 
or strength of mind, and dramatic talent is often incidentally 
associated with a weak or dissolute character. 

In the Tenth Book Plato introduces a new series of objections. 
First, he says that the poet or painter is an imitator, and in 
the third degree removed from the truth. His creations are 
not tested by rule and measure ; they are only appearances. 
In modern times we should say that art is not merely imita- 
tion, but rather the expression of the ideal in forms of sense. 
Even adopting the humble image of Plato, from which his 
argument derives a colour, we should maintain that the artist 

Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? clix 

may ennoble the bed which he paints by the folds of the drapery, Republic 
or by the feeling of home which he introduces ; and there have T X ' 


been modern painters who have imparted such an ideal in- >N. 
terest to a blacksmith's or a carpenter's shop. The eye or mind 
which feels as well as sees can give dignity and pathos to a 
ruined mill, or a straw-built shed [Rembrandt], to the hull of 
a vessel * going to its last home ' [Turner]. Still more would 
this apply to the greatest works of art, which seem to be the 
visible embodiment of the divine. Had Plato been asked whether 
the Zeus or Athene of Pheidias was the imitation of an imitation 
only, would he not have been compelled to admit that something 
more was to be found in them than in the form of any mortal ; 
and that the rule of proportion to which they conformed was 
1 higher far than any geometry or arithmetic could express ? ' 
(Statesman, 257 A.) 

Again, Plato objects to the imitative arts that they express 
the emotional rather than the rational part of human nature. 
He does not admit Aristotle's theory, that tragedy or other 
serious imitations are a purgation of the passions by pity and 
fear ; to him they appear only to afford the opportunity of in- 
dulging them. Yet we must acknowledge that we may some- 
times cure disordered emotions by giving expression to them; 
and that they often gain strength when pent up within our own 
breast. It is not every indulgence of the feelings which is to be 
condemned. For there may be a gratification of the higher as well 
as of the lower thoughts which are too deep or too sad to be 
expressed by ourselves, may find an utterance in the words of 
poets. Every one would acknowledge that there have been 
times when they were consoled and elevated by beautiful music or 
by the sublimity of architecture or by the peacefulness of nature. 
Plato has himself admitted, in the earlier part of the Republic, 
that the arts might have the effect of harmonizing as well as of 
enervating the mind ; but in the Tenth Book he regards them 
through a Stoic or Puritan medium. He asks only ' What good 
have they done ? ' and is not satisfied with the reply, that ' They 
have given innocent pleasure to mankind.' 

He tells us that he rejoices in the banishment of the poets, 
since he has found by the analysis of the soul that they are 
concerned with the inferior faculties. He means to say that 

clx Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? 

Republic the higher faculties have to do with universals, the lower with 
, particulars of sense. The poets are on a level with their own 


TION. age, but not on a level with Socrates and Plato ; and he was 
well aware that Homer and Hesiod could not be made a rule 
of life by any process of legitimate interpretation ; his ironical 
use of them is in fact a denial of their authority ; he saw, too, 
that the poets were not critics as he says in the Apology, ' Any 
one was a better interpreter of their writings than they were 
themselves ' (22 C). He himself ceased to be a poet when he 
became a disciple of Socrates ; though, as he tells us of Solon, 
'he might have been one of the greatest of them, if he had 
not been deterred by other pursuits ' (Tim. 21 C). Thus from 
many points of view there is an antagonism between Plato and 
the poets, which was foreshadowed to him in the old quarrel 
between philosophy and poetry. The poets, as he says in the 
Protagoras (316 E), were the Sophists of their day ; and his 
dislike of the one class is reflected on the other. He regards 
them both as the enemies of reasoning and abstraction, though 
in the case of Euripides more with reference to his immoral 
sentiments about tyrants and the like. For Plato is the prophet 
who 'came into the world to convince men' first of the fallibility 
of sense and opinion, and secondly of the reality of abstract ideas. 
Whatever strangeness there may be in modern times in opposing 
philosophy to poetry, which to us seem to have so many elements 
in common, the strangeness will disappear if we conceive of 
poetry as allied to sense, and of philosophy as equivalent to 
thought and abstraction. Unfortunately the very word ' idea,' which 
to Plato is expressive of the most real of all things, is associated 
in our minds with an element of subjectiveness and unreality. 
We may note also how he differs from Aristotle who declares 
poetry to be truer than history, for the opposite reason, because 
it is concerned with universals, not like history, with particulars 
(Poet. c. 9, 3). 

The things which are seen are opposed in Scripture to the 
things which are unseen they are equally opposed in Plato to 
universals and ideas. To him all particulars appear to be floating 
about in a world of sense; they have a taint of error or even of 
evil. There is no difficulty in seeing that this is an illusion ; for 
there is no more error or variation in an individual man, horse, 

Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? clxi 

bed, etc., than in the class man, horse, bed, etc. ; nor is the truth Republic 
which is displayed in individual instances less certain than that INTRO D ITC . 
which is conveyed through the medium of ideas. But Plato, TION> 
who is deeply impressed with the real importance of universals 
as instruments of thought, attributes to them an essential truth 
which is imaginary and unreal; for universals may be often 
false and particulars true. Had he attained to any clear con- 
ception of the individual, which is the synthesis of the universal 
and the particular ; or had he been able to distinguish between 
opinion -and sensation, which the ambiguity of the words 8oa, 
4>atWdat, fiKbs and the like, tended to confuse, he would not 
have denied truth to the particulars of sense. 

But the poets are also the representatives of falsehood and 
feigning in all departments of life and knowledge, like the so- 
phists and rhetoricians of the Gorgias and Phaedrus; they 
are the false priests, false prophets, lying spirits, enchanters 
of the world. There is another count put into the indictment 
against them by Plato, that they are the friends of the tyrant, 
and bask in the sunshine of his patronage. Despotism in all 
ages has had an apparatus of false ideas and false teachers at 
its service in the history of Modern Europe as well as of 
Greece and Rome. For no government of men depends solely 
upon force; without some corruption of literature and morals 
some appeal to the imagination of the masses some pretence 
to the favour of heaven some element of good giving power 
to evil (cp. i. 352), tyranny, even for a short time, cannot be 
maintained. The Greek tyrants were not insensible to the 
importance of awakening in their cause a Pseudo - Hellenic 
feeling; they were proud of successes at the Olympic games; 
they were not devoid of the love of literature and art. Plato 
is thinking in the first instance of Greek poets who had graced 
the courts of Dionysius or Archelaus : and the old spirit of 
freedom is roused within him at their prostitution of the Tragic 
Muse in the praises of tyranny. But his prophetic eye extends 
beyond them to the false teachers of other ages who are the 
creatures of the government under which they live. He com- 
pares the corruption of his contemporaries with the idea of a 
perfect society, and gathers up into one mass of evil the evils 
and errors of mankind; to him they are personified in the 


clxii Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? 

Republic rhetoricians, sophists, poets, rulers who deceive and govern the 
r x - world. 

TION. A further objection which Plato makes to poetry and the 

imitative arts is that they excite the emotions. Here the 
modern reader will be disposed to introduce a distinction which 
appears to have escaped him. For the emotions are neither 
bad nor good in themselves, and are not most likely to be 
controlled by the attempt to eradicate them, but by the mode- 
rate indulgence of them. And the vocation of art is to present 
thought in the form of feeling, to enlist the feelings on the side 
of reason, to inspire even for a moment courage or resigna- 
tion ; perhaps to suggest a sense of infinity and eternity in a 
way which mere language is incapable of attaining. True, the 
same power which in the purer age of art embodies gods and 
heroes only, may be made to express the voluptuous image of 
a Corinthian courtezan. But this only shows that art, like other 
outward things, may be turned to good and also to evil, and 
is not more closely connected with the higher than with the 
lower part of the soul. All imitative art is subject to certain 
limitations, and therefore necessarily partakes of the nature 
of a compromise. Something of ideal truth is sacrificed for 
the sake of the representation, and something in the exactness 
of the representation is sacrificed to the ideal. Still, works of 
art have a permanent element; they idealize and detain the 
passing thought, and are the intermediates between sense and 

In the present stage of the human mind, poetry and other 
forms of fiction may certainly be regarded as a good. But we 
can also imagine the existence of an age in which a severer 
conception of truth has either banished or transformed them. 
At any rate we .must admit that they hold a different place at 
different periods of the world's history. In the infancy of man- 
kind, poetry, with the exception of proverbs, is the whole of 
literature, and the only instrument of intellectual culture ; in 
modern times she is the shadow or echo of her former self, 
and appears to have a precarious existence. Milton in his day 
doubted whether an epic poem was any longer possible. At 
the same time we must remember, that 'what Plato would 
have called the charms of poetry have been partly transferred 

Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? clxiii 

to prose ; he himself (Statesman 304) admits rhetoric to be the Republic 
handmaiden of Politics, and proposes to find in the strain of lNTRO p. 
law (Laws vii. 811) a substitute for the old poets. Among our- T10N - 
selves the creative power seems often to be growing weaker, 
and scientific fact to be more engrossing and overpowering to 
the mind than formerly. The illusion of the feelings commonly 
called love, has hitherto been the inspiring influence of modern 
poetry and romance, and has exercised a humanizing if not a 
strengthening influence on the world. But may not the stimulus 
which love has given to fancy be some day exhausted? The 
modern English novel which is the most popular of all forms 
of reading is not more than a century or two old: will the 
tale of love a hundred years hence, after so many thousand 
variations of the same theme, be still received with unabated 
interest ? 

Art cannot claim to be on a level with philosophy or religion, 
and may often corrupt them. It is possible to conceive a mental 
state in which all artistic representations are regarded as a false 
and imperfect expression, either of the religious ideal or of 
the philosophical ideal. The fairest forms may be revolting in 
certain moods of mind, as is proved by the fact that the Maho- 
metans, and many sects of Christians, have renounced the use 
of pictures and images. The beginning of a great religion, 
whether Christian or Gentile, has not been 'wood or stone,' 
but a spirit moving in the hearts of men. The disciples have 
met in a large upper room or in ' holes and caves of the earth ' ; 
in the second or third generation, they have had mosques, 
temples, churches, monasteries. And the revival or reform 
of religions, like the first revelation of them, has come from 
within and has generally disregarded external ceremonies and 

But poetry and art may also be the expression of the highest 
truth and the purest sentiment. Plato himself seems to waver 
between two opposite views when, as in the third Book, he in- 
sists that youth should be brought up amid wholesome imagery ; 
and again in Book x, when he banishes the poets from his Re- 
public. Admitting that the arts, which some of us almost deify, 
have fallen short of their higher aim, we must admit on the 
other hand that to banish imagination wholly would be suicidal 

m 2 

clxiv Why was Plato the enemy of the poets ? 

Republic as well as impossible. For nature too is a form of art ; and a 
Breath ^ tne fresh air or a single glance at the varying land- 
scape would in an instant revive and reillumine the extin- 
guished spark of poetry in the human breast. In the lower 
stages of civilization imagination more than reason distinguishes 
man from the animals ; and to banish art would be to banish 
thought, to banish language, to banish the expression of all 
truth. No religion is wholly devoid of external forms; even 
the Mahometan who renounces the use of pictures and images 
has a temple in which he worships the Most High, as solemn 
and beautiful as any Greek or Christian building. Feeling too 
and thought are not really opposed ; for he who thinks must 
feel before he can execute. And the highest thoughts, when 
they become familiarized to us, are always tending to pass into 
the form of feeling. 

Plato does not seriously intend to expel poets from life and 
society. But he feels strongly the unreality of their writings ; he 
is protesting against the degeneracy of poetry in his own day as 
we might protest against the want of serious purpose in modern 
fiction, against the unseemliness or extravagance of some of our 
poets or novelists, against the time-serving of preachers or public 
writers, against the regardlessness of truth which to the eye of 
the philosopher seems to characterize the greater part of the 
world. For we too have reason to complain that our poets and 
novelists 'paint inferior truth' and 'are concerned with the 
inferior part of the soul'; that the readers of them become 
what they read and are injuriously affected by them. And we 
look in vain for that healthy atmosphere of which Plato speaks, 
* the beauty which meets the sense like a breeze and imperceptibly 
draws the soul, ven in childhood, into harmony with the beauty 
of reason.' 

For there might be a poetry which would be the hymn of 
divine perfection, the harmony of goodness and truth among 
men : a strain which should renew the youth of the world, and bring 
back the ages in which the poet was man's only teacher and best 
friend, which would find materials in the living present as well 
as in the romance of the past, and might subdue to the fairest 
forms of speech and verse the intractable materials of modern 
civilization, which might elicit the simple principles, or, as Plato 

Why was Plato the enemy of the poets f clxv 

would have called them, the essential forms, of truth and justice Republic 
out of the variety of opinion and the complexity of modern 
society, which would preserve all the good of each generation 
and leave the bad unsung, which should be based not on vain 
longings or faint imaginings, but on a clear insight into the 
nature of man. Then the tale of love might begin again in 
poetry or prose, two in one, united in the pursuit of knowledge, 
or the service of God and man ; and feelings of love might still 
be the incentive to great thoughts and heroic deeds as in the 
days of Dante or Petrarch ; and many types of manly and 
womanly beauty might appear among us, rising above the or- 
dinary level of humanity, and many lives which were like poems 
(Laws vii. 817 B), be not only written, but lived by us. A 
few such strains have been heard among men in the tragedies 
of ^Eschylus and Sophocles, whom Plato quotes, not, as Homer 
is quoted by him, in irony, but with deep and serious approval, 
in the poetry of Milton and Wordsworth, and in passages of 
other English poets, first and above all in the Hebrew prophets 
and psalmists. Shakespeare has taught us how great men 
should speak and act ; he has drawn characters of a wonderful 
purity and depth ; he has ennobled the human mind, but, like 
Homer (Rep. x. 599 foil.), he ' has left no way of life.' The next 
greatest poet of modern times, Goethe, is concerned with 'a 
lower degree of truth' ; he paints the world as a stage on which 
' all the men and women are merely players ' ; he cultivates 
life as an art, but he furnishes no ideals of truth and action. The 
poet may rebel against any attempt to set limits to his fancy; 
and he may argue truly that moralizing in verse is not poetry. 
Possibly, like Mephistopheles in Faust, he may retaliate on. 
his adversaries. But the philosopher will still be justified in 
asking, ' How may the heavenly gift of poesy be devoted to 
the good of mankind ? ' 

Returning to Plato, we may observe that a similar mixture 
of truth and error appears in other parts of the argument. He 
is aware of the absurdity of mankind framing their whole lives 
according to Homer; just as in the Phaedrus he intimates the 
absurdity of interpreting mythology upon rational principles; 
both these were the modern tendencies of his own age, which 
he deservedly ridicules. On the other hand, his argument that 

clxvi The argument for immortality. 

Republic Homer, if he had been able to teach mankind anything worth 

INTRODUO knowing, would not have been allowed by them to go about 

TION. begging as a rhapsodist, is both false and contrary to the spirit 

of Plato (cp. Rep. vi. 489 A foil.). It may be compared with 

those other paradoxes of the Gorgias, that * No statesman was 

ever unjustly put to death by the city of which he was the 

head ' ; and that ' No Sophist was ever defrauded by his pupils ' 

(Gorg. 519 foil.) 

The argument for immortality seems to rest on the absolute 
dualism of soul and body. Admitting the existence of the soul, 
we know of no force which is able to put an end to her. Vice 
is her own proper evil; and if she cannot be destroyed by 
that, she cannot be destroyed by any other. Yet Plato has 
acknowledged that the soul may be so overgrown by the in- 
crustations of earth as to lose her original form; and in the 
Timaeus he recognizes more strongly than in the Republic 
the influence which the body has over the mind, denying even 
the voluntariness of human actions, on the ground that they 
proceed from physical states (Tim. 86, 87). In the Republic, as 
elsewhere, he wavers between the original soul which has to 
be restored, and the character which is developed by training 

and education 

The vision of another world is ascribed to Er, the son of Arme- 
nius, who is said by Clement of Alexandria to have been 
Zoroaster. The tale has certainly an oriental character, and 
may be compared with the pilgrimages of the soul in the Zend 
Avesta (cp. Haug, Avesta, p. 197). But no trace of acquaintance 
with Zoroaster is found elsewhere in Plato's writings, and there 
is no reason for giving him the name of Er the Pamphylian. 
The philosophy of Heracleitus cannot be shown to be borrowed 
from Zoroaster, and still less the myths of Plato. 

The local arrangement of the vision is less distinct than that 
of the Phaedrus and Phaedo. Astronomy is mingled with sym- 
bolism and mythology ; the great sphere of heaven is represented 
under the symbol of a cylinder or box, containing the seven or- 
bits of the planets and the fixed stars ; this is suspended from 
an axis or spindle which turns on the knees of Necessity ; the 
revolutions of the seven orbits contained in the cylinder are 
guided by the fates, and their harmonious motion produces 

The description of the heavens. clxvii 

the music of the spheres. Through the innermost or eighth Republic 
.of these, which is the moon, is passed the spindle; but it is lNTRO p UC 
doubtful whether this is the continuation of the column of light, TION - 
from which the pilgrims contemplate the heavens; the words 
of Plato imply that they are connected, but not the same. The 
column itself is clearly not of adamant. The spindle (which 
is of adamant) is fastened to the ends of the chains which ex- 
tend to the middle of the column of light this column is said 
to hold together the heaven; but whether it hangs from the 
spindle, or is at right angles to it, is not explained. The cylinder 
containing the orbits of the stars is almost as much a symbol 
as the figure of Necessity turning the spindle; for the outer- 
most rim is the sphere of the fixed stars, and nothing is said 
about the intervals of space which divide the paths of the 
stars in the heavens. The description is both a picture and 
an orrery, and therefore is necessarily inconsistent with itself. 
The column of light is not the Milky Way which is neither 
straight, nor like a rainbow but the imaginary axis of the earth. 
This is compared to the rainbow in respect not of form but 
of colour, and not to the undergirders of a trireme, but to the 
straight rope running from prow to stern in which the under- 
girders meet. 

The orrery or picture of the heavens given in the Republic 
differs in its mode of representation from the circles of the 
same and of the other in the Timaeus. In both the fixed stars 
are distinguished from the planets, and they move in orbits 
without them, although in an opposite direction : in the Re- 
public as in the Timaeus (40 B) they are all moving round the 
axis of the world. But we are not certain that in the former 
they are moving round the earth. No distinct mention is made 
in the Republic of the circles of the same and other ; although 
both in the Timaeus and in the Republic the motion of the 
fixed stars is supposed to coincide with the motion of the whole. 
The relative thickness of the rims is perhaps designed to ex- 
press the relative distances of the planets.*- Plato probably 
intended to represent the earth, from which Er and his com- 
panions are viewing the heavens, as stationary in place ; but 
whether or not herself revolving, unless this is implied in the 
revolution of the axis, is uncertain (cp. Timaeus). The spectator 

clxviii t The choice of the lots. 

Republic may be supposed to look at the heavenly bodies, either from 
INTRODUC- above or below. The earth is a sort of earth and heaven in 

On6) iik e tne heaven of the Phaedrus, on the back of which 
the spectator goes out to take a peep at the stars and is borne 
round in the revolution. There is no distinction between the 
equator and the ecliptic. But Plato is no doubt led to imagine 
that the planets have an opposite motion to that* of the fixed 
stars, in order to account for their appearances in the heavens. 
In the description of the meadow, and the retribution of the 
good and evil after death, there are traces of Homer. 

The description of the axis as a spindle, and of the heavenly 
bodies as forming a whole, partly arises out of the attempt to 
connect the motions of the heavenly bodies with the mytho- 
logical image of the web, or weaving of the Fates. The giving 
of the lots, the weaving of them, and the making of them irrever- 
sible, which are ascribed to the three Fates Lachesis, Clotho, 
Atropos, are obviously derived from their names. The element 
of chance in human life is indicated by the order of the lots. 
But chance, however adverse, may be overcome by the wisdom 
of man, if he knows how to choose aright; there is a worse 
enemy to man than chance; this enemy is himself. He who 
was moderately fortunate in the number of the lot even the 
very last comer might have a good life if he chose with wisdom. 
And as Plato does not like to make an assertion which is un- 
proven, he more than confirms this statement a few sentences 
afterwards by the example of Odysseus, who chose last. But 
the virtue which is founded on habit is not sufficient to enable 
a man to choose ; he must add to virtue knowledge, if he is to 
act rightly when placed in new circumstances. The routine 
of good actions and good habits is an inferior sort of goodness ; 
and, as Coleridge says, 'Common sense is intolerable which is 
not based on metaphysics/ so Plato would have said, 'Habit is 
worthless which is not based upon philosophy.' 

The freedom of the will to refuse the evil and to choose the 
good is distinctly Asserted. ' Virtue is free, and as a man honours 
or dishonours her he will have more or less of her.' The life 
of man is ' rounded ' by necessity ; there are circumstances prior 
to birth which affect him (cp. Pol. 273 B). But within the walls of 
necessity there is an open space in which he is his own master, 

The credibility of the visions. clxix 

and can study for himself the effects which the variously com- Republic 
pounded gifts of nature or fortune have upon the soul, and act INTRODUC . 
accordingly. All men cannot have the first choice in everything. TION - 
But the lot of all men is good enough, if they choose wisely and 
will live diligently. 

The verisimilitude which is given to the pilgrimage of a 
thousand years, by the intimation that Ardiaeus had lived a 
thousand years before ; the coincidence of Er coming to life 
on the twelfth day after he was supposed to have been dead 
with the seven days which the pilgrims passed in the meadow, 
and the four days during which they journeyed to the column 
of light ; the precision with which the soul is mentioned who 
chose the twentieth lot ; the passing remarks that there was 
no definite character among the souls, and that the souls which 
had chosen ill blamed any one rather than themselves ; or that 
some of the souls drank more than was necessary of the waters 
of Forgetfulness, while Er himself was hindered from drinking ; 
the desire of Odysseus to rest at last, unlike the conception of 
him in Dante and Tennyson ; the feigned ignorance of how Er 
returned to the body, when the other souls went shooting like 
stars to their birth, add greatly to the probability of the narra- 
tive. They are such touches of nature as the art of Defoe might 
have introduced when he wished to win credibility for marvels 
and apparitions. 

There still remain to be considered some points which have 
been intentionally reserved to the end : (I) the Janus-like 
character of the Republic, which presents two faces one an 
Hellenic state, the other a kingdom of philosophers. Connected 
with the latter of the two aspects are (II) the paradoxes of the 
Republic, as they have been termed by Morgenstern: (a) the 
community of property ; () of families ; (y) the rule of philo- 
sophers ; (8) the analogy of the individual and the State, which, 
like some other analogies in the Republic, is carried too far. 
We may then proceed to consider (III) the subject of educa- 
tion as conceived by Plato, bringing together in a general 
view the education of youth and the education of after-life ; 
(IV) we may note further some essential differences between 
ancient and modern politics which are suggested by the Republic ; 

clxx Spartan features of the Republic. 

IKTRODUO- (V) we may compare the Politicus and the Laws ; (VI) we may 
observe the influence exercised by Plato on his imitators ; and 
(VII) take occasion to consider the nature and value of political, 
and (VIII) of religious ideals. 

I. Plato expressly says that he is intending to found an Hellenic 
State (Book v. 470 E). Many of his regulations are character- 
istically Spartan ; such as the prohibition of gold and silver, the 
common meals of the men, the military training of the youth, 
the gymnastic exercises of the women. The life of Sparta was 
the life of a camp (Laws ii. 666 E), enforced even more rigidly in 
time of peace than in war; the citizens of Sparta, like Plato's, 
were forbidden to trade they were to be soldiers and not shop- 
keepers. Nowhere else in Greece was the individual so com- 
pletely subjected to the State ; the time when he was to marry, 
the education of his children, the clothes which he was to wear, 
the food which he was to eat, were all prescribed by law. Some 
of the best enactments in the Republic, such as the reverence 
to be paid to parents and elders, and some of the worst, such 
as the exposure of deformed children, are borrowed from the 
practice of Sparta. The encouragement of friendships between 
men and youths, or of men with one another, as affording in- 
centives to bravery, is also Spartan ; in Sparta too a nearer 
approach was made than in any other Greek State to equality of 
the sexes, and to community of property ; and while there was 
probably less of licentiousness in the sense of immorality, the 
tie of marriage was regarded more lightly than in the rest of 
Greece. The * suprema lex ' was the preservation of the family, 
and the interest of the State. The coarse strength of a military 
government was not favourable to purity and refinement; and 
the excessive strictness of some regulations seems to have pro- 
duced a reaction. Of all Hellenes the Spartans were most acces- 
sible to bribery ; several of the greatest of them might be 
. described in the words of Plato as having a ' fierce secret longing 
after gold and silver.* Though not in the strict sense com- 
munists, the principle of communism was maintained among 
them in their division of lands, in their common meals, in their 
slaves, and in the free use of one another's goods. Marriage was 
a public institution : and the women were educated by the State, 
and sang and danced in public with the men. 

Spartan features of the Republic. clxxi 

Many traditions were preserved at Sparta of the severity with INTRODUC- 
which the magistrates had maintained the primitive rule of music 
and poetry; as in the Republic of Plato, the new-fangled poet 
was to be expelled. Hymns to the Gods, which are the only 
kind of music admitted into the ideal State, were the only kind 
which was permitted at Sparta. The Spartans, though an un- 
poetical race, were nevertheless lovers of poetry ; they had been 
stirred by the Elegiac strains of Tyrtaeus, they had crowded 
around Hippias to hear his recitals of Homer ; but in this they 
resembled the citizens of the timocratic rather than of the ideal 
State (548 E). The council of elder men also corresponds to the 
Spartan gerousia ; and the freedom with which they are per- 
mitted to judge about matters of detail agrees with what we are 
told of that institution. Once more, the military rule of not 
spoiling the dead or offering arms at the temples ; the modera- 
tion in the pursuit of enemies ; the importance attached to the 
physical well-being of the citizens ; the use of warfare for the 
sake of defence rather than of aggression are features probably 
suggested by the spirit and practice of Sparta. 

To the Spartan type the ideal State reverts in the first decline ; 
and the character of the individual timocrat is borrowed from the 
Spartan citizen. The love of Lacedaemon not only affected 
Plato and Xenophon, but was shared by many undistinguished 
Athenians ; there they seemed to find a principle which was 
wanting in their own democracy. The cuKorr/u'a of the Spartans at- 
tracted them, that is to say, not the goodness of their laws, but 
the spirit of order and loyalty which prevailed. Fascinated by the 
idea, citizens of Athens would imitate the Lacedaemonians in their 
dress and manners ; they were known to the contemporaries ^ 
of Plato as 'the persons who had their ears bruised,' like the 
Roundheads of the Commonwealth. The love of another church 
or country when seen at a distance only, the longing for an 
imaginary simplicity in civilized times, the fond desire of a past 
which never has been, or of a future which never will be, these 
are aspirations of the human mind which are often felt among 
ourselves. Such feelings meet with a response in the Republic 
of Plato. 

But there are other features of the Platonic Republic, as, for 
example, the literary and philosophical education, and the grace 

clxxii Hellenic feeling in Plato. 

INTRODUC- and beauty of life, which are the reverse of Spartan. Plato 
wishes to give his citizens a taste of Athenian freedom as well 
as of Lacedaemonian discipline. His individual genius is purely 
Athenian, although in theory he is a lover of Sparta; and he 
is something more than either he has also a true Hellenic 
feeling. He is desirous of humanizing the wars of Hellenes 
against one another; he acknowledges that the Delphian God 
is the grand hereditary interpreter of all Hellas. The spirit of 
harmony and the Dorian mode are to prevail, and the whole 
State is to have an external beauty which is the reflex of the 
harmony within. But he has not yet found out the truth which 
he afterwards enunciated in the Laws (i. 628 D) that he was a 
better legislator who made men to be of one mind, than he who 
trained them for war. The citizens, as in other Hellenic States, 
democratic as well as aristocratic, are really an upper class; 
for, although no mention is made of slaves, the lower classes 
are allowed to fade away into the distance, and are represented 
in the individual by the passions. Plato has no idea either of 
a social State in which all classes are harmonized, or of a federa- 
tion of Hellas or the world in which different nations or States 
have a place. His city is equipped for war rather than for peace, 
and this would seem to be justified by the ordinary condition of 
Hellenic States. The myth of the earth-born men is an embodi- 
ment of the orthodox tradition of Hellas, and the allusion to the 
four ages of the world is also sanctioned by the authority of 
Hesiod and the poets. Thus we see that the Republic is partly 
founded on the ideal of the old Greek polis, partly on the actual 
circumstances of Hellas in that age. Plato, like the old painters, 
j retains the traditional form, and like them he has also a vision of 
a city in the clouds. 

There is yet another thread which is interwoven in the texture 
of the work ; for the Republic is not only a Dorian State, but a 
Pythagorean league. The ' way of life ' which was connected with 
the name of Pythagoras, like the Catholic monastic orders, showed 
the power which the mind of an individual might exercise over 
his contemporaries, and may have naturally suggested to Plato the 
possibility of reviving such ' mediaeval institutions.' The Pytha- 
goreans, like Plato, enforced a rule of life and a moral and in- 
tellectual training. The influence ascribed to music, which to 

The Pythagorean way of life. clxxiii 

us seems exaggerated, is also a Pythagorean feature ; it is not to INTRODUC- 
be regarded as representing the real influence of music in the 
Greek world. More nearly than any other government of 
Hellas, the Pythagorean league of three hundred was an aris- 
tocracy of virtue. For once in the history of mankind the philo- 
sophy of order or Kovpos, expressing and consequently enlisting 
on its side the combined endeavours of the better part of the 
people, obtained the management of public affairs and held 
possession of it for a considerable time (until about B. c. 500). 
Probably only in States prepared by Dorian institutions would 
such a league have been possible. The rulers, like Plato's ^uXa/cey, 
were required to submit to a severe training in order to prepare 
the way for the education of the other members of the com- 
munity. Long after the dissolution of the Order, eminent Pytha- 
goreans, such as Archytas of Tarentum, retained their political 
influence over the cities of Magna Graecia. There was much here 
that was suggestive to the kindred spirit of Plato, who had 
doubtless meditated deeply on the ' way of life of Pythagoras ' 
(Rep. x. 600 B) and his followers. Slight traces of Pythagorean- 
ism are to be found in the mystical number of the State, in the 
number which expresses the interval between the king and the 
tyrant, in the doctrine of transmigration, in the music of the 
spheres, as well as in the great though secondary importance 
ascribed to mathematics in education. 

But as in his philosophy, so also in the form of his State, he 
goes far beyond the old Pythagoreans. He attempts a task really 
impossible, which is to unite the past of Greek history with the 
future of philosophy, analogous to that other impossibility, which 
has often been the dream of Christendom, the attempt to unite 
the past history of Europe with the kingdom of Christ. Nothing 
actually existing in the world at all resembles Plato's ideal State ; 
nor does he himself imagine that such a State is possible. This 
he repeats again and again ; e. g. in the Republic (ix. sub fin.), or 
in the Laws (Book v. 739), where, casting a glance back on the 
Republic, he admits that the perfect state of communism and 
philosophy was impossible in his own age, though still to be 
retained as a pattern. The same doubt is implied in the earnest- 
ness with which he argues in the Republic (v. 472 D) that ideals 
are none the worse because they cannot be realized in fact, and 


Was Plato a good citizen '? 

- in the chorus of laughter, which like a breaking wave will, as 
he anticipates, greet the mention of his proposals ; though 
like other writers of fiction, he uses all his art to give reality to 
his inventions. When asked how the ideal polity can come into 
being, he answers ironically, ' When one son of a king becomes 
a philosopher ' ; he designates the fiction of the earth-born men 
as ' a noble lie ' ; and when the structure is finally complete, he 
fairly tells you that his Republic is a vision only, which in some 
sense may have reality, but not in the vulgar one of a reign of 
philosophers upon earth. It has been said that Plato flies as 
well as walks, but this falls short of the truth ; for he flies and 
walks at the same time, and is in the air and on firm ground in 
successive instants. 

Niebuhr has asked a trifling question, which may be briefly 
noticed in this place Was Plato a good citizen ? If by this is 
meant, Was he loyal to Athenian institutions ? he can hardly be 
said to be the friend of democracy : but neither is he the friend 
of any other existing form of government ; all of them he re- 
garded as ' states of faction ' (Laws viii. 832 C) ; none attained to 
his ideal of a voluntary rule over voluntary subjects, which seems 
indeed more nearly to describe democracy than any other ; and 
the worst of them is tyranny. The truth is, that the question has 
hardly any meaning when applied to a great philosopher whose 
writings are not meant for a particular age and country, but for 
all time and all mankind. The decline of Athenian politics was 
probably the motive which led Plato to frame an ideal State, and 
the Republic may be regarded as reflecting the departing glory 
of Hellas. As well might we complain of St. Augustine, whose 
great work ' The City of God ' originated in a similar motive, for 
not being loyal to the Roman Empire. Even a nearer parallel 
might be afforded by the first Christians, who cannot fairly 
be charged with being bad citizens because, though 'subject to 
the higher powers,' they were looking forward to a city which is 
in heaven. 

II. The idea of the perfect State is full of paradox when 
judged of according to the ordinary notions of mankind. The 
paradoxes of one age have been said' to become the common- 
places of the next ; but the paradoxes of Plato are at least as 
paradoxical to us as they were to his contemporaries. The 

The community of property. clxxv 

modern world has either sneered at them as absurd, or de- 
nounced them as unnatural and immoral ; men have been pleased 
to find in Aristotle's criticisms of them the anticipation of their 
own good sense. The wealthy and cultivated classes have dis- 
liked and also dreaded them ; they have pointed with satisfaction 
to the failure of efforts to realize them in practice. Yet since 
they are the thoughts of one of the greatest of human intelli- 
gences, and of one who has done most to elevate morality and 
religion, they seem to deserve a better treatment at our hands. 
We may have to address the public, as Plato does poetry, and 
assure them that we mean no harm to existing institutions. 
There are serious errors which have a side of truth and which 
therefore may fairly demand a careful consideration : there are 
truths mixed with error of which we may indeed say, * The half is 
better than the whole.' Yet 'the half may be an important con- 
tribution to the study of human nature. 

(a) The first paradox is the community of goods, which is 
mentioned slightly at the end of the third Book, and seemingly, 
as Aristotle observes, is confined to the guardians ; at least no 
mention is made of the other classes. But the omission is not 
of any real significance, and probably arises out of the plan of 
the work, which prevents the writer from entering into details. 

Aristotle censures the community of property much in the 
spirit of modern political economy, as tending to repress in- 
dustry, and as doing away with the spirit of benevolence. 
Modern writers almost refuse to consider the subject, which is 
supposed to have been long ago settled by the common, opinion 
of mankind. But it must be remembered that the sacredness of 
property is a notion far more fixed in modern than in ancient 
times. The world has grown older, and is therefore more con- 
servative. Primitive society offered many examples of land held 
in common, either by a tribe or by a township, and such may 
probably have been the original form of landed tenure. Ancient 
legislators had invented various modes of dividing and preserving 
the divisions of land among the citizens ; according to Aristotle 
there were nations who held the land in common and divided 
the produce, and there were others who divided the land and 
stored the produce in common. The evils of debt and the in- 
equality of property were far greater in ancient than in modern 

clxxvi The community of property. 

INTRODUC- times, and the accidents to which property was subject from war, 

TION. t t ... 

or revolution, or taxation, or other legislative interference, were 
also greater. All these circumstances gave property a less fixed 
and sacred character. The early Christians are believed to have 
held their property in common, and the principle is sanctioned 
by the words of Christ himself, and has been maintained as a 
counsel of perfection in almost all ages of the Church. Nor have 
there been wanting instances of modern enthusiasts who have 
made a religion of communism ; in every age of religious excite- 
ment notions like Wycliffe's ' inheritance of grace ' have tended 
to prevail. A like spirit, but fiercer and more violent, has ap- 
peared in politics. ' The preparation of the Gospel of peace ' soon 
becomes the red flag of Republicanism. 

We can hardly judge what effect Plato's views would have 
upon his own contemporaries ; they would perhaps have seemed 
to them only an exaggeration of the Spartan commonwealth. 
Even modern writers would acknowledge that the right of private 
property is based on expediency, and may be interfered with in 
a variety of ways for the public good. Any other mode of vesting 
property which was found to be more advantageous, would in 
time acquire the same basis of right ; ' the most useful,' in Plato's 
words, 'would be the most sacred.' The lawyers and ecclesi- 
astics of former ages would have spoken of property as a sacred 
institution. But they only meant by such language to oppose the 
greatest amount of resistance to any invasion of the rights of in- 
dividuals and of the Church. 

When we consider the question, without any fear of immediate 
application to practice, in the spirit of Plato's Republic, are we 
quite sure that the received notions of property are the best? 
Is the distribution of wealth which is customary in civilized 
countries the most favourable that can be conceived for the 
education and development of the mass of mankind ? Can * the 
spectator of all time and all existence* be quite convinced that 
one or two thousand years hence, great changes will not have 
taken place in the rights of property, or even that the very notion 
of property, beyond what is necessary for personal maintenance, 
may not have disappeared ? This was a distinction familiar to 
Aristotle, though likely to be laughed at among ourselves. Such 
a change would not be greater than some other changes through 

The community of property. clxxvii 

which the world has passed in the transition from ancient to 
modern society, for example, the emancipation of the serfs in 
Russia, or the abolition of slavery in America and the West 
Indies ; and not so great as the difference which separates the 
Eastern village community from the Western world. To accom- 
plish such a revolution in the course of a few centuries, would 
imply a rate of progress not more rapid than has actually taken 
place during the last fifty or sixty years. The kingdom of Japan 
underwent more change in five or six years than Europe in five 
or six hundred. Many opinions and beliefs which have been 
cherished among ourselves quite as strongly as the sacredness of 
property have passed away ; and the most untenable propositions 
respecting the right of bequests or entail have been maintained 
with as much fervour as the most moderate. Some one will be 
heard to ask whether a state of society can be final in which the 
interests of thousands are perilled on the life or character of a 
single person. And many will indulge the hope that our present 
condition may, after all, be only transitional, and may conduct to 
a higher, in which property, besides ministering to the enjoyment 
of the few, may also furnish the means of the highest culture to 
all, and will be a greater benefit to the public generally, and also 
more under the control of public authority. There may come a 
time when the saying, ' Have I not a right to do what I will with 
my own ? ' will appear to be a barbarous relic of individualism ; 
when the possession of a part may be a greater blessing to each 
and all than the possession of the whole is now to any one. 

Such reflections appear visionary to the eye of the practical 
statesman, but they are within the range of possibility to the 
philosopher. He can imagine that in some distant age or clime, 
and through the influence of some individual, the notion of com- 
mon property may or might have sunk as deep into the heart of 
a race, and have become as fixed to them, as private property 
is to ourselves. He knows that this latter institution is not more 
than four or five thousand years old : may not the end revert to 
the beginning? In our own age even Utopias affect the spirit of 
legislation, and an abstract idea may exercise a great influence on 
practical politics. 

The objections that would be generally urged against Plato's 
community of property, are the old ones of Aristotle, that motives 


clxxviii The community of property, 

INTRODUC- for exertion would be taken away, and that disputes would arise 
when each was dependent upon all. Every man would produce 
as little and consume as much as he liked. The experience of 
civilized nations has hitherto been adverse to Socialism. The 
effort is too great for human nature ; men try to live in common, 
but the personal feeling is always breaking in. On the other 
hand it may be doubted whether our present notions of property 
are not conventional, for they differ in different countries and 
in different states of society. We boast of an individualism 
which is not freedom, but rather an artificial result of the in- 
dustrial state of modern Europe. The individual is nominally 
free, but he is also powerless in a world bound hand and foot 
in the chains of economic necessity. Even if we cannot expect 
the mass of mankind to become disinterested, at any rate we 
observe in them a power of organization which fifty years ago 
would never have been suspected. The same forces which have 
revolutionized the political system of Europe, may effect a similar 
change in the social and industrial relations of mankind. And 
if we suppose the influence of some good as well as neutral 
motives working in the community, there will be no absurdity 
in expecting that the mass of mankind having power, and 
becoming enlightened about the higher possibilities of human 
life, when they learn how much more is attainable for all than 
is at present the possession of a favoured few, may pursue the 
common interest with an intelligence and persistency which man- 
kind have hitherto never seen. 

Now that the world has once been set in motion, and is no 
longer held fast under the tyranny of custom and ignorance ; now 
that criticism has pierced the veil of tradition and the past no 
longer overpowers the present, the progress of civilization may 
be expected to be far greater and swifter than heretofore. Even 
at our present rate of speed the point at which we may arrive 
in two or three generations is beyond the power of imagination 
to foresee. There are forces in the world which work, not in an 
arithmetical, but in a geometrical ratio of increase. Education, to 
use the expression of Plato, moves like a wheel with an ever- 
multiplying rapidity. Nor can we say how great may be its 
influence, when it becomes universal, when it has been in- 
herited by many generations, when it is freed from the trammels 

The community of wives and children. clxxix 

of superstition and rightly adapted to the wants and capacities 
of different classes of men and women. Neither do we know 
how much more the co-operation of minds or of hands may be 
capable of accomplishing, whether in labour or in study. The 
resources of the natural sciences are not half-developed as yet ; 
the soil of the earth, instead of growing more barren, may become 
many times more fertile than hitherto ; the uses of machinery 
far greater, and also more minute than at present. New secrets 
of physiology may be revealed, deeply affecting human nature 
in its innermost recesses. The standard of health may be raised 
and the lives of men prolonged by sanitary and medical know- 
ledge. There may be peace, there may be leisure, there may 
be innocent refreshments of many kinds. The ever-increasing 
power of locomotion may join the extremes of earth. There 
may be mysterious workings of the human mind, such as occur 
only at great crises of history. The East and the West may meet 
together, and all nations may contribute their thoughts and their 
experience to the common stock of humanity. Many other ele- 
ments enter into a speculation of this kind. But it is better to 
make an end of them. For such reflections appear to the 
majority far-fetched, and to men of science, commonplace. 

(j3) Neither to the mind of Plato nor of Aristotle did the doctrine 
of community of property present at all the same difficulty, or 
appear to be the same violation of the common Hellenic senti- 
ment, as the community of wives and children. This paradox 
he prefaces by another proposal, that the occupations of men and 
women shall be the same, and that to this end they shall have 
a common training and education. Male and female animals have 
the same pursuits why not also the two sexes of man ? 

But have we not here fallen into a contradiction ? for we were 
saying that different natures should have different pursuits. How 
then can men and women have the same ? And is not the pro-* 
posal inconsistent with our notion of the division of labour ? 
These objections are no sooner raised than answered; for, ac- 
cording to Plato, there is no organic difference between men and 
women, but only the accidental one that men beget and women 
bear children. Following the analogy of the other animals, he 
contends that all natural gifts are scattered about indifferently 
among both sexes, though there may be a superiority of degree 

n 2 

clxxx The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- on the part of the men. The objection on the score of decency 
to their taking part in the same gymnastic exercises, is met by 
Plato's assertion that the existing feeling is a matter of habit. 

That Plato should have emancipated himself from the ideas of 
his own country and from, the example of the East, shows a 
wonderful independence of mind. He is conscious that women 
are half the human race, in some respects the more important half 
(Laws vi. 781 B) ; and for the sake both of men and women he 
desires to raise the woman to a higher level of existence. He 
brings, not sentiment, but philosophy to bear upon a question 
which both in ancient and modern times has been chiefly re- 
garded in the light of custom or feeling. The Greeks had noble 
conceptions of womanhood in the goddesses Athene and Artemis, 
and in the heroines Antigone and Andromache. But these ideals 
had no counterpart in actual life. The Athenian woman was in no 
way the equal of her husband ; she was not the entertainer of his 
guests or the mistress of his house, but only his housekeeper and 
the mother of his children. She took no part in military or politi- 
cal matters ; nor is there any instance in the later ages of Greece 
of a woman becoming famous in literature. ' Hers is the greatest 
glory who has the least renown among men,' is the historian's 
conception of feminine excellence. A very different ideal of 
womanhood is held up by Plato to the world ; she is to be the 
companion of the man, and to share with him in the toils of war 
and in the cares of government. She is to be similarly trained 
both in bodily and mental exercises. She is to lose as far as 
possible the incidents of maternity and the characteristics of the 
female sex. 

The modern antagonist of the equality of the sexes would argue 
that the differences between men and women are not confined to 
the single point urged by Plato ; that sensibility, gentleness, grace, 
are the qualities of women, while energy, strength, higher intelli- 
gence, are to be looked for in men. And the criticism is just : 
the differences affect the whole nature, and are not, as Plato 
supposes, confined to a single point. But neither can we say how 
far these differences are due to education and the opinions of 
mankind, or physically inherited from the habits and opinions of 
former generations. Women have been always taught, not 
exactly that they are slaves, but that they are in an inferior 

The community of wives and children. clxxxi 

position, which is also supposed to have compensating advantages ; 
and to this position they have conformed. It is also true that the 
physical form may easily change in the course of generations 
through the mode of life ; and the weakness or delicacy, which 
was once a matter of opinion, may become a physical fact. The 
characteristics of sex vary greatly in different countries arid ranks 
of society, and at different ages in the same individuals. Plato 
may have been right in denying that there was any ultimate 
difference in the sexes of man other than that which exists in 
animals, because all other differences may be conceived to dis- 
appear in other states of society, or under different circumstances 
of life and training. 

The first wave having been passed, we proceed to the second 
community of wives and children. ' Is it possible ? Is it desir- 
able ? ' For, as Glaucon intimates, and as we far more strongly 
insist, ' Great doubts may be entertained about both these points.' 
Any free discussion of the question is impossible, and mankind 
are perhaps right in not allowing the ultimate bases of social life 
to be examined. Few of us can safely enquire into the things 
which nature hides, any more than we can dissect our own bodies. 
Still, the manner in which Plato arrived at his conclusions should 
be considered. For here, as Mr. Grote has remarked, is a 
wonderful thing, that one of the wisest and best of men should 
have entertained ideas of morality which are wholly at variance 
with our own. And if we would do Plato justice, we must 
examine carefully the character of his proposals. First, we may 
observe that the relations of the sexes supposed by him are the 
reverse of licentious : he seems rather to aim at an impossible 
strictness. Secondly, he conceives the family to be the natural 
enemy of the state ; and he entertains the serious hope that an 
universal brotherhood may take the place of private interests 
an aspiration which, although not justified by experience, has 
possessed many noble minds. On the other hand, there is no 
sentiment or imagination in the connections which men and 
women are supposed by him to form ; human beings return to 
the level of the animals, neither exalting to heaven, nor yet 
abusing the natural instincts. All that world of poetry and fancy 
which the passion of love has called forth in modern literature 
and romance would have been banished by Plato. The arrange- 

clxxxii The community of wives and children. 

IHTRQDUC- ments of marriage in the Republic are directed to one object 
the improvement of the race. In successive generations a great 
development both of bodily and mental qualities might be pos- 
sible. The analogy of animals tends to show that mankind can. 
within certain limits receive a change of nature. And as in 
animals we should commonly choose the best for breeding, and 
destroy the others, so there must be a selection made of the 
human beings whose lives are worthy to be preserved. 

. We start back horrified from this Platonic ideal, in the belief, 
first, that the higher feelings of humanity are far too strong to be 
crushed out ; secondly, that if the plan could be carried into 
execution we should be poorly recompensed by improvements in 
the breed for the loss of the best things in life. The greatest 
regard for the weakest and meanest of human beings the infant, 
the criminal, the insane, the idiot, truly seems to us one of the 
noblest results of Christianity. We have learned, though as yet 
imperfectly, that the individual man has an endless value in the 
sight of God, and that we honour Him when we honour the 
darkened and disfigured image of Him (cp. Laws xi. 931 A). This 
is the lesson which Christ taught in a parable when He said, 
' Their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is 
in heaven.' Such lessons are only partially realized in any age ; 
they were foreign to the age of Plato, as they have very different 
degrees of strength in different countries or ages of the Christian 
world. To the Greek the family was a religious and customary 
institution binding the members together by a tie inferior in 
strength to that of friendship, and having a less solemn and 
sacred sound than that of country. The relationship which 
existed on the lower level of custom, Plato imagined that he was 
raising to the higher level of nature and reason ; while from the 
modern and Christian point of view we regard him as sanctioning 
murder and destroying the first principles of morality. 

The great error in these and similar speculations is that the 
difference between man and the animals is forgotten in them. The 
human being is regarded with the eye of a dog- or bird-fancier 
(v. 459 A), or at best of a slave-owner ; the higher or human 
qualities are left out. The breeder of animals aims chiefly at size 
or speed or strength ; in a few cases at courage or temper ; most 
often the fitness of the animal for food is the great desideratum. 

The community of wives and children. clxxxiii 

But mankind are not bred to be eaten, nor yet for their superiority INTRODUC- 
in fighting or in running or in drawing carts. Neither does the 

improvement of the human race consist merely in the increase of 
the bones and flesh, but in the growth and enlightenment of the 
mind. Hence there must be ' a marriage of true minds ' as well as 
of bodies, of imagination and reason as well as of lusts and instincts. 
Men and women without feeling or imagination are justly called 
brutes ; yet Plato takes away these qualities and puts nothing in 
their place, not even the desire of a noble offspring, since parents 
are not to know their own children. The most important transac- 
tion of social life, he who is the idealist philosopher converts into 
the most brutal. For the pair are to have no relation to one 
another, except at the hymeneal festival ; their children are not 
theirs, but the state's ; nor is any tie of affection to unite them. 
Yet here the analogy of the animals might have saved Plato from 
a gigantic error, if he had ' not lost sight of his own illustration ' 
(ii. 375 D). For the ' nobler sort of birds and beasts ' (v. 459 A) 
nourish and protect their offspring and are faithful to one another. 

An eminent physiologist thinks it worth while ' to try and place 
life on a physical basis.' But should not life rest on the moral 
rather than upon the physical? The higher comes first, then 
the lower ; first the human and rational, afterwards the animal. 
Yet they are not absolutely divided ; and in times of sickness or 
moments of self-indulgence they seem to be only different aspects 
of a common human nature which includes them both. Neither is 
the moral the limit of the physical, but the expansion and enlarge- 
ment of it, the highest form which the physical is capable of 
receiving. As Plato would say, the body does not take care of the 
body, and still less of the mind, but the mind takes care of both. 
In all human action not that which is common to man and the 
animals is the characteristic element, but that which distinguishes 
him from them. Even if we admit the physical basis, and resolve 
all virtue into health of body ' lafagon que notre sang circule,' still 
on merely physical grounds we must come back to ideas. Mind 
and reason and duty and conscience, under these or other names, 
are always reappearing. There cannot be health of body without 
health of mind ; nor health of mind without the sense of duty and 
the love of truth (cp. Charm. 156 D, E). 

That the greatest of ancient philosophers should in his regulations 

clxxxiv The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- about marriage have fallen into the error of separating body and 
mind, does indeed appear surprising. Yet the wonder is not 
so much that Plato should have entertained ideas of morality 
which to our own age are revolting, but that he should have con- 
tradicted himself to an extent which is hardly credible, falling 
in an instant from the heaven of idealism into the crudest 
animalism. Rejoicing in the newly found gift of reflection, he 
appears to have thought out a subject about which he had 
better have followed the enlightened feeling of his own age. The 
general sentiment of Hellas was opposed to his monstrous fancy. 
The old poets, and in later time the tragedians, showed no want of 
respect for the family, on which much of their religion was based. 
But the example of Sparta, and perhaps in some degree the 
tendency to defy public opinion, seems to have misled him. He 
will make one family out of all the families of the state. He will 
select the finest specimens of men and women and breed from 
these only. 

Yet because the illusion is always returning (for the animal part 
of human nature will from time to time assert itself in the disguise 
of philosophy as well as of poetry), and also because any departure 
from established morality, even where this is not intended, is apt 
to be unsettling, it may be worth while to draw out a little more 
at length the objections to the Platonic marriage. In the first 
place, history shows that wherever polygamy has been largely 
allowed the race has deteriorated. One man to one woman is the 
law of God and nature. Nearly all the civilized peoples of the 
world at some period before the age of written records, have 
become monogamists ; and the step when once taken has never 
been retraced. The exceptions occurring among Brahmins or 
Mahometans or the ancient Persians, are of that sort which may be 
said to prove the rule. The connexions formed between superior 
and inferior races hardly ever produce a noble offspring, because 
they are licentious; and because the children in such cases 
usually despise the mother and are neglected by the father who 
is ashamed of them. Barbarous nations when they are introduced 
by Europeans to vice die out ; polygamist peoples either import 
and adopt children from other countries, or dwindle in numbers, 
or both. Dynasties and aristocracies which have disregarded the 
laws of nature have decreased in numbers and degenerated in 

The community of wives and children. clxxxv 

stature ; ' manages de convenance ' leave their enfeebling stamp 
on the offspring of them (cp. King Lear, Act i. Sc. 2). The 
marriage of near relations, or the marrying in and in of the same 
family tends constantly to weakness or idiocy in the children, 
sometimes assuming the form as they grow older of passionate 
licentiousness. The common prostitute rarely has any offspring. 
By such unmistakable evidence is the authority of morality 
asserted in the relations of the sexes : and so many more elements 
enter into this ' mystery ' than are dreamed of by Plato and some 
other philosophers. 

Recent enquirers have indeed arrived at the conclusion that 
among primitive tribes there existed a community of wives as 
of property, and that the captive taken by the spear was the 
only wife or slave whom any man was permitted to call his own. 
The partial existence of such customs among some of the lower 
races of man, and the survival of peculiar ceremonies in the 
marriages of some civilized nations, are thought to furnish a 
proof of similar institutions having been once universal. There 
can be no question that the study .of anthropology has consider- 
ably changed our views respecting the first appearance of man 
upon the earth. We know more about the aborigines of the 
world than formerly, but our increasing knowledge shows above 
all things how little we know. With all the helps which written 
monuments afford, we do but faintly realize the condition of man 
two thousand or three thousand years ago. Of what his condition 
was when removed to a distance 200,000 or 300,000 years, when 
the majority of mankind were lower and nearer the animals than 
any tribe now existing upon the earth, we cannot even entertain 
conjecture. Plato (Laws iii. 676 foil.) and Aristotle (Metaph. xi. 8, 
19,20) may have been more right than we imagine in supposing 
that some forms of civilization were discovered and lost several 
times over. If we cannot argue that all barbarism is a degraded 
civilization, neither can we set any limits to the depth of degrada- 
tion to which the human race may sink through war, disease, or 
isolation. And if we are to draw inferences about the origin 
of marriage from the practice of barbarous nations, we should 
also consider the remoter analogy of the animals. Many birds 
and animals, especially the carnivorous, have only one mate, and 
the love and care of offspring which seems to be natural is in- 

clxxxvi The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- consistent with the primitive theory of marriage. If we go back 
to an imaginary state in which men were almost animals and 
the companions of them, we have as much right to argue from 
what is animal to what is human as from the barbarous to the 
civilized man. The record of animal life on the globe is frag- 
mentary, the connecting links are wanting and cannot be sup- 
plied; the record of social life is still more fragmentary and 
precarious. Even if we admit that our first ancestors had no 
such institution as marriage, still the stages by which men passed 
from outer barbarism to the comparative civilization of China, 
Assyria, and Greece, or even of the ancient Germans, are wholly 
unknown to us. 

Such speculations are apt to be unsettling, because they seem 
to show that an institution which was thought to be a revelation 
from heaven, is only the growth of history and experience. We 
ask what is the origin of marriage, and we are told that like 
the right of property, after many wars and contests, it has 
gradually arisen out of the selfishness of barbarians. We stand 
face to face with human nature in its primitive nakedness. We 
are compelled to accept, not the highest, but the lowest account 
of the origin of human society. But on the other hand we may 
truly say that every step in human progress has been in the 
same direction, and that in the course of ages the idea of marriage 
and of the family has been more and more defined and conse- 
crated. The civilized East is immeasurably in advance of any 
savage tribes ; the Greeks and Romans have improved upon the 
East; the Christian nations have been stricter in their views 
of the marriage relation than any of the ancients. In this as 
in so many other things, instead of looking back with regret to 
the past, we should look forward with hope to the future. We 
must consecrate that which we believe to be the most holy, and 
that ' which is the most holy will be the most useful.' There is 
more reason for maintaining the sacredness of the marriage tie, 
when we see the benefit of it, than when we only felt a vague 
religious horror about the violation of it. But in all times of 
transition, when established beliefs are being undermined, there 
is a danger that in the passage from the old to the new we may 
insensibly let go the moral principle, finding an excuse for listen- 
ing to the voice of passion in the uncertainty of knowledge, or the 

The community of wives and children. clxxxvii 

fluctuations of opinion. And there are many persons in our own INTRODUC- 
day who, enlightened by the study of anthropology, and fascinated 
by what is new and strange, some using the language of fear, 
others of hope, are inclined to believe that a time will come when 
through the self-assertion of women, or the rebellious spirit of 
children, by the analysis of human relations, or by the force of 
outward circumstances, the ties of family life may be broken or 
greatly relaxed. They point to societies in America and else- 
where which tend to show that the destruction of the family need 
not necessarily involve the overthrow of all morality. Whatever 
we may think of such speculations, we can hardly deny that they 
have been more rife in this generation than in any other; and 
whither they are tending, who can predict ? 

To the doubts and queries raised by these 'social reformers' 
respecting the relation of the sexes and the moral nature of man, 
there is a sufficient answer, if any is needed. The difference be- 
tween them and us is really one of fact. They are speaking of man 
as they wish or fancy him to be, but we are speaking of him as he 
is. They isolate the animal part of his nature ; we regard him as a 
creature having many sides, or aspects, moving between good and 
evil, striving to rise above himself and to become * a little lower 
than the angels.' We also, to use a Platonic formula, are not 
ignorant of the dissatisfactions and incompatibilities of family life, 
of the meannesses of trade, of the flatteries of one class of society 
by another, of the impediments which the family throws in the way 
of lofty aims and aspirations. But we are conscious that there are 
evils and dangers in the background greater still, which are not 
appreciated, because they are either concealed or suppressed. 
What a condition of man would that be, in which human passions 
were controlled by no authority, divine or human, in which there 
was no shame or decency, no higher affection overcoming or 
^sanctifying the natural instincts, but simply a rule of health ! Is it 
for this that we are asked to throw away the civilization which is 
the growth of ages ? 

For strength and health are not the only qualities to be desired ; 
there are the more important considerations of mind and character 
and soul. We know how human nature may be degraded ; we 
do not know how by artificial means any improvement in the 
breed can be effected. The problem is a complex onej for if we 

clxxxviii The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- go back only four steps (and these at least enter into the com- 
position of a child), there are commonly thirty progenitors to 
be taken into account. Many curious facts, rarely admitting of 
proof, are told us respecting the inheritance of disease or character 
from a remote ancestor. We can trace the physical resemblances 
of parents and children in the same family 

' Sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic ora ferebat ' ; 

but scarcely less often the differences which distinguish children 
both from their parents and from one another. We are told 
of similar mental peculiarities running in families, and again 
of a tendency, as in the animals, to revert to a common or 
original stock. But we have a difficulty in distinguishing what 
is a true inheritance of genius or other qualities, and what is 
mere imitation or the result of similar circumstances. Great 
men and great women have rarely had great fathers and mothers. 
Nothing that we know of in the circumstances of their birth or 
lineage will explain their appearance. Of the English poets of 
the last and two preceding centuries scarcely a descendant 
remains, none have ever been distinguished. So deeply has 
nature hidden her secret, and so ridiculous is the fancy which 
has been entertained by some that we might in time by suitable 
marriage arrangements or, as Plato would have said, 'by an 
ingenious system of lots/ produce a Shakespeare or a Milton. 
Even supposing that we could breed men having the tenacity 
of bulldogs, or, like the Spartans, ' lacking the wit to run away 
in battle,' would the world be any the better? Many of the 
noblest specimens of the human race have been among the 
weakest physically. Tyrtaeus or Aesop, or our own Newton, 
would have been exposed at Sparta; and some of the fairest 
and strongest men and women have been among the wickedest 
and worst. Not by the Platonic device of uniting the strong 
and fair with the strong and fair, regardless of sentiment anda 
morality, nor yet by his other device of combining dissimilar 
natures (Statesman 310 A), have mankind gradually passed from 
the brutality and licentiousness of primitive marriage to marriage 
Christian and civilized. 

Few persons would deny that we bring into the world an 
inheritance of mental and physical qualities derived first from 
our parents, or through them from some remoter ancestor, 

The community of wives and children. clxxxix 

secondly from our race, thirdly from the general condition of INTRODUC- 
mankind into which we are born. Nothing is commoner than 
the remark, that ' So and so is like his father or his uncle ' ; 
and an aged person may not unfrequently note a resemblance 
in a youth to a long-forgotten ancestor, observing that 'Nature 
sometimes skips a generation.' It may be true also, that if we 
knew more about our ancestors, these similarities would be even 
more striking to us. Admitting the facts which are thus described 
in a popular way, we may however remark that there is no 
method of difference by which they can be defined or estimated, 
and that they constitute only a small part of each individual. The 
doctrine of heredity may seem to take out of our hands the conduct 
of our own lives, but it is the idea, not the fact, which is really 
terrible to us. For what we have received from our ancestors is 
only a fraction of what we are, or may become. The knowledge 
that drunkenness or insanity has been prevalent in a family may 
be the best safeguard against their recurrence in a future genera- 
tion. The parent will be most awake to the vices or diseases 
in his child of which he is most sensible within himself. The 
whole of life may be directed to their prevention or cure. The 
traces of consumption may become fainter, or be wholly effaced : 
the inherent tendency to vice or crime may be eradicated. And 
so heredity, from being a curse, may become a blessing. We 
acknowledge that in the matter of our birth, as in our nature 
generally, there are previous circumstances which affect us. But 
upon this platform of circumstances or within this wall of neces- 
sity, we have still the power of creating a life for ourselves by the 
informing energy of the human will. 

There is another aspect of the marriage question to which Plato 
is a stranger. All the children born in his state are foundlings. 
It never occurred to him that the greater part of them, according 
to universal experience, would have perished. For children can 
only be brought up in families. There is a subtle sympathy 
between the mother and the child which cannot be supplied by 
other mothers, or by ' strong nurses one or more ' (Laws vii. 789 E). 
If Plato's 'pen' was as fatal as the Creches of Paris, or the 
foundling hospital of Dublin, more than nine-tenths of his children 
would have perished. There would have been no need to expose 
or put out of the way the weaklier children, for they would have 

cxc The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- died of themselves. So emphatically does nature protest against 
the destruction of the family. 

What Plato had heard or seen of Sparta was applied by him 
in a mistaken way to his ideal commonwealth. He probably 
observed that both the Spartan men and women were superior 
in form and strength to the other Greeks ; and this superiority 
he was disposed to attribute to the laws and customs relating 
to marriage. He did not consider that the desire of a noble 
offspring was a passion among the Spartans, or that their 
physical superiority was to be attributed chiefly, not to their 
marriage customs, but to their temperance and training. He 
did not reflect that Sparta was great, not in consequence of the 
relaxation of morality, but in spite of it, by virtue of a political 
principle stronger far than existed in any other Grecian state. 
Least of all did he observe that Sparta did not really produce 
the finest specimens of the Greek race. The genius, the political 
inspiration of Athens, the love of liberty all that has made 
Greece famous with posterity, were wanting among the Spartans. 
They had no Themistocles, or Pericles, or Aeschylus, or Sopho- 
cles, or Socrates, or Plato. The individual was not allowed 
to appear above the state ; the laws were fixed, and he had no 
business to alter or reform them. Yet whence has the progress 
of cities and nations arisen, if not from remarkable individuals, 
coming into the world we know not how, and from causes over 
which we have no control? Something too much may have 
been said in modern times of the value of individuality. But 
we can hardly condemn too strongly a system which, instead of 
fostering the scattered seeds or sparks of genius and character, 
tends to smother and extinguish them. 

Still, while condemning Plato, we must acknowledge that 
neither Christianity, nor any other form of religion and society, 
has hitherto been able to cope with this most difficult of social 
problems, and that the side from which Plato regarded it is that 
from which we turn away. Population is the most untameable 
force in the political and social world. Do we not find, especi- 
ally in large cities, that the greatest hindrance to the amelioration 
of the poor is their improvidence in marriage? a small fault 
truly, if not involving endless consequences. There are whole 
countries too, such as India, or, nearer home, Ireland, in which a 

The community of wives and children. cxci 

right solution of the marriage question seems to lie at the founda- INTRODUC- 
tion of the happiness of the community. There are too many 
people on a given space, or they marry too early and bring 
into the world a sickly and half-developed offspring; or owing 
to the very conditions of their existence, they become emaciated 
and hand on a similar life to their descendants. But who can 
oppose the voice of prudence to the ' mightiest passions of man- 
kind ' (Laws viii. 835 C), especially when they have been licensed 
by custom and religion ? In addition to the influences of educa- 
tion, we seem to require some new principles of right and wrong 
in these matters, some force of opinion, which may indeed be 
already heard whispering in private, but has never affected the 
moral sentiments of mankind in general. We unavoidably lose 
sight of the principle of utility, just in that action of our lives 
in which we have the most need of it. The influences which 
we can bring to bear upon this question are chiefly indirect. 
In a generation or two, education, emigration, improvements in 
agriculture and manufactures, may have provided the solution. 
The state physician hardly likes to probe the wound : it is beyond 
his art ; a matter which he cannot safely let alone, but which he 
dare not touch : 

' We do but skin and film the ulcerous place.' 

When again in private life we see a whole family one by one 
dropping into the grave under the Ate of some inherited malady, 
and the parents perhaps surviving them, do our minds ever 
go back silently to that day twenty-five or thirty years before 
on which under the fairest auspices, amid the rejoicings of 
friends and acquaintances, a bride and bridegroom joined hands 
with one another ? In making such a reflection we are not 
opposing physical considerations to moral, but moral to physical ; 
we are seeking to make the voice of reason heard, which drives 
us back from the extravagance of sentimentalism on common 
sense. The late Dr. Combe is said by his biographer to have 
resisted the temptation to marriage, because he knew that he 
was subject to hereditary consumption. One who deserved to 
be called a man of genius, a friend of my youth, was in the habit 
of wearing a black ribbon on his wrist, in order to remind him 
that, being liable to outbreaks of insanity, he must not give way 
to the natural impulses of affection : he died unmarried in a 

cxcii The community of wives and children. 

INTRODUC- lunatic asylum. These two little facts suggest the reflection that a 


very few persons have done from a sense of duty what the rest of 
mankind ought to have done under like circumstances, if they had 
allowed themselves to think of all the misery which they were 
about to bring into the world. If we could prevent such mar- 
riages without any violation of feeling or propriety, we clearly 
ought ; and the prohibition in the course of time would be pro- 
tected by a ' horror naturalis ' similar to that which, in all civilized 
ages and countries, has prevented the marriage of near relations 
by blood. Mankind would have been the happier, if some things 
which are now allowed had from the beginning been denied to 
them ; if the sanction of religion could have prohibited practices 
inimical to health ; if sanitary principles could in early ages have 
been invested with a superstitious awe. But, living as we do far 
on in the world's history, we are no longer able to stamp at once 
with the impress of religion a new prohibition. A free agent can- 
not have his fancies regulated by law ; and the execution of the 
law would be rendered impossible, owing to the uncertainty of 
the cases in which marriage was to be forbidden. Who can 
weigh virtue, or even fortune against health, or moral and mental 
qualities against bodily ? Who can measure probabilities against 
certainties? There has been some good as well as evil in the 
discipline of suffering; and there are diseases, such as con- 
sumption, which have exercised a refining and softening in- 
fluence on the character. Youth is too inexperienced to balance 
such nice considerations ; parents do not often think of them, or 
think of them too late. They are at a distance and may probably 
be averted ; change of place, a new state of life, the interests of 
a home may be the cure of them. So persons vainly reason when 
their minds are already made up and their fortunes irrevocably 
linked together. Nor is there any ground for supposing that 
marriages are to any great extent influenced by reflections of 
this sort, which seem unable to make any head against the 
irresistible impulse of individual attachment. 

Lastly, no one can have observed the first rising flood of the 
passions in youth, the difficulty of regulating them, and the 
effects on the whole mind and nature which follow from them, 
the stimulus which is given to them by the imagination, without 
feeling that there is something unsatisfactory in our method of 

The community of women and children. cxciii 

treating them. That the most important influence on human life Republic. 
should be wholly left to chance or shrouded in mystery, and 
instead of being disciplined or understood, should be required to 
conform only to an external standard of propriety cannot be 
regarded by the philosopher as a safe or satisfactory condition of 
human things. And still those who have the charge of youth may 
find a way by watchfulness, by affection, by the manliness and 
innocence of their own lives, by occasional hints, by general admo- 
nitions which every one can apply for himself, to mitigate this 
terrible evil which eats out the heart of individuals and corrupts 
the moral sentiments of nations. In no duty towards others is 
there more need of reticence and self-restraint. So great is the 
danger lest he who would be the counsellor of another should 
reveal the secret prematurely, lest he should get another too much 
into his power, or fix the passing impression of evil by demanding 
the confession of it. 

Nor is Plato wrong in asserting that family attachments may 
interfere with higher aims. If there have been some who 'to 
party gave up what was meant for mankind/ there have cer- 
tainly been others who to family gave up what was meant for 
mankind or for their country. The cares of children, the 
necessity of procuring money for their support, the flatteries 
of the rich by the poor, the exclusiveness of caste, the pride 
of birth or wealth, the tendency of family life* to divert men 
from the pursuit of the ideal or the heroic, are as lowering in 
our own age as in that of Plato. And if we prefer to look at 
the gentle influences of home, the development of the affections, 
the amenities of society, the devotion of one member of a family 
for the good of the others, which form one side of the picture, 
we must not quarrel with him, or perhaps ought rather to be 
grateful to him, for having presented to us the reverse. Without 
attempting to defend Plato on grounds of morality, we may allow 
that there is an aspect of the world which has not unnaturally 
led him into error. 

We hardly appreciate the power which the idea of the State, 
like all other abstract ideas, exercised over the mind of Plato. 
To us the State seems to be built up out of the family, or some- 
times to be the framework in which family and social life is 
contained. But to Plato in his present mood of mind the family 


cxciv The government of philosophers. 

Republic, is only a disturbing influence which, instead of filling up, tends 
to disarrange tne higher unity of the State. No organization 
is needed except a political, which, regarded from another point 
of view, is a military one. The State is all-sufficing for the wants 
of man, and, like the idea of the Church in later ages, absorbs all 
other desires and aifections. In time of war the thousand citizens 
are to stand like a rampart impregnable against the world or the 
Persian host ; in time of peace the preparation for war and their 
duties to the State, which are also their duties to one another, 
take up their whole life and time. The only other interest which 
is allowed to them besides that of war, is the interest of philo- 
sophy. When they are too old to be soldiers they are to retire 
from active life and to have a second novitiate of study and 
contemplation. There is an element of monasticism even in 
Plato's communism. If he could have done without children, 
he might have converted his Republic into a religious order. 
Neither in the Laws (v. 739 B), when the daylight of common 
sense breaks in upon him, does he retract his error. In the 
state of which he would be the founder, there is no marrying 
or giving in marriage : but because of the infirmity of mankind, 
he condescends to allow the law of nature to prevail. 

(y) But Plato has an equal, or, in his own estimation, even 
greater paradox in reserve, which is summed up in the famous 
text, 'Until kings are philosophers or philosophers are kings, 
cities will never cease from ill.' And by philosophers he explains 
himself to mean those who are capable of apprehending ideas, 
especially the idea of good. To the attainment of this higher 
knowledge the second education is directed. Through a process 
of training which has already made them good citizens they 
are now to be made good legislators. We find with some sur- 
prise (not unlike the feeling which Aristotle in a well-known 
passage describes the hearers of Plato's lectures as experiencing, 
when they went to a discourse on the idea of good, expecting 
to be instructed in moral truths, and received instead of them 
arithmetical and mathematical formulae) that Plato does not 
propose for his future legislators any study of finance or law 
or military tactics, but only of abstract mathematics, as a pre- 
paration for the still more abstract conception of good. We ask, 
with Aristotle, What is the use of a man knowing the idea of 

The government of philosophers. cxcv 

good, if he does not know what is good for this individual, Republic. 
this state, this condition of society ? We cannot understand 
how Plato's legislators or guardians are to be fitted for their 
work of statesmen by the study of the five mathematical sciences. 
We vainly search in Plato's own writings for any explanation 
of this seeming absurdity. 

The discovery of a great metaphysical conception seems to 
ravish the mind with a prophetic consciousness which takes 
away the power of estimating its value. No metaphysical en- 
quirer has ever fairly criticised his own speculations; in his 
own judgment they have been above criticism; nor has he 
understood that what to him seemed to be absolute truth may 
reappear in the next generation as a form of logic or an in- 
strument of thought. And posterity have also sometimes equally 
misapprehended the real value of his speculations. They appear 
to them to have contributed nothing to the stock of human 
knowledge. The idea of good is apt to be regarded by the 
modern thinker as an unmeaning abstraction ; but he forgets 
that this abstraction is waiting ready for use, and will hereafter 
be filled up by the divisions of knowledge. When mankind do 
not as yet know that the world is subject to law, the introduc- 
tion of the mere conception of law or design or final cause, and 
the far-off anticipation of the harmony of knowledge, are great 
steps onward. Even the crude generalization of the unity of 
all things leads men to view the world with different eyes, and 
may easily affect their conception of human life and of politics, 
and also their own conduct and character (Tim. 90 A). 1 We can 
imagine how a great mind like that of Pericles might derive 
elevation from his intercourse with Anaxagoras (Phaedr. 270 A). 
To be struggling towards a higher but unattainable conception 
is a more favourable intellectual condition than to rest satisfied 
in a narrow portion of ascertained fact. And the earlier, which 
have sometimes been the greater ideas of science, are often 
lost sight of at a later period. How rarely can we say of any 
modern enquirer in the magnificent language of Plato, that 
* He is the spectator of all time and of all existence ! ' 

Nor is there anything unnatural in the hasty application of 
these vast metaphysical conceptions to practical and political 
life. In the first enthusiasm of ideas men are apt to see them 


cxcvi The government of philosophers. 

Republic, everywhere, and to apply them in the most remote sphere. 

INTRODUC- They do not understand that the experience of ages is required 
to enable them to fill up ' the intermediate axioms.' Plato him- 
self seems to have imagined that the truths of psychology, like 
those of astronomy and harmonics, would be arrived at by a 
process of deduction, and that the method which he has pur- 
sued in the Fourth Book, of inferring them from experience 
and the use of language, was imperfect and only provisional. 
But when, after having arrived at the idea of good, which is the 
end of the science of dialectic, he is asked, What is the nature, and 
what are the divisions of the science ? he refuses to answer, as 
if intending by the refusal to intimate that the state of knowledge 
which then existed was not such as would allow the philo- 
sopher to enter into his final rest. The previous sciences must 
first be studied, and will, we may add, continue to be studied 
till the end of time, although in a sense different from any 
^vhich Plato could have conceived. But we may observe, 
that while he is aware of the vacancy of his own ideal, he is 
full of enthusiasm in the contemplation of it. Looking into the 
orb of light, he sees nothing, but he is warmed and elevated. 
The Hebrew prophet believed that faith in God would enable 
him to govern the world ; the Greek philosopher imagined 
that contemplation of the good would make a legislator. There 
is as much to be filled up in the one case as in the other, and 
the one mode of conception is to the Israelite what the other 
is to the Greek. Both find a repose in a divine perfection, 
which, whether in a more personal or impersonal form, exists 
without them and independently of them, as well as within 

There is no mention of the idea of good in the Timaeus, nor 
of the divine Creator of the world in the Republic ; and we are 
naturally led to ask in what relation they stand to one another. 
Is God above or below the idea of good ? Or is the Idea of 
Good another mode of conceiving God ? The latter appears to be 
the truer answer. To the Greek philosopher the perfection 
and unity of God was a far higher conception than his person- 
ality, which he hardly found a word to express, and which to 
him would have seemed to be borrowed from mythology. To 
the Christian, on the other hand, or to the modern thinker in 

The government of philosophers. cxcvii 

general, it is difficult, if not impossible, to attach reality td Republic. 
what he terms mere abstraction ; while to Plato this very ab- INT T R J ^ UC " 
straction is the truest and most real of all things. Hence, from 
a difference in forms of thought, Plato appears to be resting 
on a creation of his own mind only. But if we may be allowed 
to paraphrase the idea of good by the words 'intelligent prin- 
ciple of law and order in the universe, embracing equally man 
and nature/ we begin to find a meeting-point between him and 

The question whether the ruler or statesman should be a 
philosopher is one that has not lost interest in modern times. 
In most countries of Europe and Asia there has been some one 
in the course of ages who has truly united the power of com- 
mand with the power of thought and reflection, as there have 
been also many false combinations of these qualities. Some 
kind of speculative power is necessary both in practical and 
political life ; like the rhetorician in the Phaedrus, men require 
to have a conception of the varieties of human character, and 
to be raised on great occasions above the commonplaces of 
ordinary life. Yet the idea of the philosopher-statesman has 
never been popular with the mass of mankind ; partly because 
he cannot take the world into his confidence or make them 
understand the motives from which he acts; and also because 
they are jealous of a power which they do not understand. 
The revolution which human nature desires to effect step by 
step in many ages is likely to be precipitated by him in a single 
year or life. They are afraid that in the pursuit of his greater 
aims he may disregard the common feelings of humanity. He 
is too apt to be looking into the distant future or back into the 
remote past, and unable to see actions or events which, to use 
an expression of Plato's, ' are tumbling out at his feet.' Besides, 
as Plato would say, there are other corruptions of these philo- 
sophical statesmen. Either 'the native hue of resolution is 
sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,' and at the moment 
when action above all things is required he is undecided, or 
general principles are enunciated by him in order to cover 
some change of policy ; or his ignorance of the world has 
made him more easily fall a prey to the arts of others ; or in 
some cases he has been converted into a courtier, who enjoys 

cxcviii The government of philosophers. 

Republic, the luxury of holding liberal opinions, but was never known to 
P er f rm a liberal action. No wonder that mankind have been in 
the habit of calling statesmen of this class pedants, sophisters, 
doctrinaires, visionaries. For, as we may be allowed to say, a 
little parodying the words of Plato, ' they have seen bad imitations 
of the philosopher-statesman.' But a man in whom the power 
of thought and action are perfectly balanced, equal to the pre- 
sent, reaching forward to the future, 'such a one/ ruling in a 
constitutional state, ' they have never seen.' 

But as the philosopher is apt to fail in the routine of political 
life, so the ordinary statesman is also apt to fail in extraordinary 
crises. When the face of the world is beginning to alter, and 
thunder is heard in the distance, he is still guided by his old 
maxims, and is the slave of his inveterate party prejudices ; he 
cannot perceive the signs of the times; instead of looking for- 
ward he looks back ; he learns nothing and forgets nothing ; 
with ' wise saws and modern instances ' he would stem the 
rising tide of revolution. He lives more and more within the 
circle of his own party, as the world without him becomes 
stronger. This seems to be the reason why the old order of 
things makes so poor a figure when confronted with the new, 
why churches can never reform, why most political changes 
are made blindly and convulsively. The great crises in the 
history of nations have often been met by an ecclesiastical 
positiveness, and a more obstinate reassertion of principles 
which have lost their hold upon a nation. The fixed ideas of 
a reactionary statesman may be compared to madness ; they grow 
upon him, and he becomes possessed by them ; no judgement of 
others is ever admitted by him to be weighed in the balance 
against his own. 

(5) Plato, labouring under what, to modern readers, appears 
to have been a confusion of ideas, assimilates the state to the 
individual, and fails to distinguish Ethics from Politics. He 
thinks that to be most of a state which is most like one 
man, and in which the citizens have the greatest uniformity of 
character. He does not see that the analogy is partly fal- 
lacious, and that the will or character of a state or nation is 
really the balance or rather the surplus of individual wills, 
which are limited by the condition of having to act in common. 

The State and the Individual. cxcix 

The movement of a body of men can never have the pliancy Republic. 
or facility of a single man ; the freedom of the individual, which INTRODUC- 


is always limited, becomes still more straitened when transferred 
to a nation. The powers of action and feeling are necessarily 
weaker and more balanced when they are diffused through 
a community ; whence arises the often discussed question, ' Can 
a nation, like an individual, have a conscience?' We hesitate 
to say that the characters of nations are nothing more than 
the sum of the characters of the individuals who compose 
them ; because there may be tendencies in individuals which 
react upon one another. A whole nation may be wiser than any 
one man in it ; or may be animated by some common opinion 
or feeling which could not equally have affected the mind of a 
single person, or may have been inspired by a leader of genius to 
perform acts more than human. Plato does not appear to have 
analysed the complications which arise out of the collective 
action of mankind. Neither is he capable of seeing that analo- 
gies, though epecious as arguments, may often have no founda- 
tion in fact, or of distinguishing between what is intelligible 
or vividly present to the mind, and what is true. In this respect 
he is far below Aristotle, who is comparatively seldom imposed 
upon by false analogies. He cannot disentangle the arts from 
the virtues at least he is always arguing from one to the 
other. His notion of music is transferred from harmony of 
sounds to harmony of life: in this he is assisted by the am- 
biguities of language as well as by the prevalence of Pythagorean 
notions. And having once assimilated the state to the individual, 
he imagines that he will find the succession of states paralleled 
in the lives of individuals. 

Still, through this fallacious medium, a real enlargement of 
ideas is attained. When the virtues as yet presented no distinct 
conception to the mind, a great advance was made by the com- 
parison of them with the arts ; for virtue is partly art, and has 
an outward form as well as an inward principle. The harmony 
of music affords a lively image of the harmonies of the world and 
of human life, and may be regarded as a splendid illustration 
which was naturally mistaken for a real analogy. In the same 
way the identification of ethics with politics has a tendency to 
give definiteness to ethics, and also to elevate and ennoble men's 

cc The Education of the Republic. 

Republic, notions of the aims of government and of the duties of citizens ; 

IN TION U * r et hi cs fr m one point of view may be conceived as an idealized 
law and politics ; and politics, as ethics reduced to the conditions 
of human society. There have been evils which have arisen 
out of the attempt to identify them, and this has led to the 
separation or antagonism of them, which has been introduced 
by modern political writers. But we may likewise feel that 
something has been lost in their separation, and that the 
ancient philosophers who estimated the moral and intellectual 
wellbeing of mankind first, and the wealth of nations and indi- 
viduals second, may have a salutary influence on the speculations 
of modern times. Many political maxims originate in a reaction 
against an opposite error; and when the errors against which 
they were directed have passed away, they in turn become 

III. Plato's views of education are in several respects re- 
markable; like the rest of the Republic they are partly Greek 
and partly ideal, beginning with the ordinary curriculum of the 
Greek youth, and extending to after-life. Plato is the first writer 
who distinctly says that education is to comprehend the whole 
of life, and to be a preparation for another in which education 
begins again (vi. 4980). This is the continuous thread which 
runs through the Republic, and which more than any other of 
his ideas admits of an application to modern life. 

He has long given up the notion that virtue cannot be taught ; 
and he is disposed to modify the thesis of the Protagoras, that 
the virtues are one and not many. He is not unwilling to 
admit the sensible world into his scheme of truth. Nor does 
he assert in the Republic the involuntariness of vice, which 
is maintained by him in the Timaeus, Sophist, and Laws 
(cp. Protag. 345 foil., 352, 355; Apol. 25 E; Gorg. 468, 509 E). 
Nor do the so-called Platonic ideas recovered from a former 
state of existence affect his theory of mental improvement. Still 
we observe in him the remains of the old Socratic doctrine, that 
true knowledge must be elicited from within, and is to be sought 
for in ideas, not in particulars of sense. Education, as he says, 
will implant a principle of intelligence which is better than ten 

The Education of the Republic. cci 

thousand eyes. The paradox that the virtues are one, and the Republic. 
kindred notion that all virtue is knowledge, are not entirely re- 
nounced ; the first is seen in the supremacy given to justice over 
the rest ; the second in the tendency to absorb the moral virtues 
in the intellectual, and to centre all goodness in the contemplation 
of the idea of good. The world of sense is still depreciated and 
identified with opinion, though admitted to be a shadow of the 
true. In the Republic he is evidently impressed with the con- 
viction that vice arises chiefly from ignorance and may be cured 
by education ; the multitude are hardly to be deemed responsible 
for what they do (v. 499 E). A faint allusion to the doctrine of 
reminiscence occurs in the Tenth Book (621 A) ; but Plato's views 
of education have no more real connection with a previous state 
of existence than our own ; he only proposes to elicit from the 
mind that which is there already. Education is represented by 
him, not as the filling of a vessel, but as the turning the eye of 
the soul towards the light. 

He treats first of music or literature, which he divides into true 
and false, and then goes on to gymnastics; of infancy in the 
Republic he takes no notice, though in the Laws he gives sage 
counsels about the nursing of children and the management of 
the mothers, and would have an education which is even prior to 
birth. But in the Republic he begins with the age at which the 
child is capable of receiving ideas, and boldly asserts, in language 
which sounds paradoxical to modern ears, that he must be taught 
the false before he can learn the true. The modern and ancient 
philosophical world are not agreed about truth and falsehood ; the 
one identifies truth almost exclusively with fact, the other with 
ideas. This is the difference between ourselves and Plato, which 
is, however, partly a difference of words (cp. supra, p. xxxviii). For 
we too should admit that a child must receive many lessons which 
he imperfectly understands ; he must be taught some things in a 
figure only, some too which he can hardly be expected to believe 
when he grows older ; but we should limit the use of fiction by the 
necessity of the case. Plato would draw the line differently \ 
according to him the aim of early education is not truth as a matter 
of fact, but truth as a matter of principle ; the child is to be taught 
first simple religious truths, and then simple moral truths, and 
insensibly to learn the lesson of good manners and good taste. He 

ccii The Education of the Republic. 

Republic, would make an entire reformation of the old mythology; like 
" Xenophanes and Heracleitus he is sensible of the deep chasm 
which separates his own age from Homer and Hesiod, whom he 
quotes and invests with an imaginary authority, but only for his 
own purposes. The lusts and treacheries of the gods are to be 
banished ; the terrors of the world below are to be dispelled ; the 
misbehaviour of the Homeric heroes is not to be a model for 
youth. But there is another strain heard in Homer which may 
teach our youth endurance; and something may be learnt in 
medicine from the simple practice of the Homeric age. The 
principles on which religion is to be based are two only : first, that 
God is true ; secondly, that he is good. Modern and Christian 
writers have often fallen short of these ; they can hardly be said 
to have gone beyond them. 

The young are to be brought up in happy surroundings, out of 
the way of sights or sounds which may hurt the character or 
vitiate the taste. They are to live in an atmosphere of health ; the 
breeze is always to be wafting to them the impressions of truth 
and goodness. Could such an education be realized, or if our 
modern religious education could be bound up with truth and 
virtue and good manners and good taste, that would be the best 
hope of human improvement. Plato, like ourselves, is looking 
forward to changes in the moral and religious world, and is pre- 
paring for them. He recognizes the danger of unsettling young 
men's minds by sudden changes of laws and principles, by destroy- 
ing the sacredness of one set of ideas when there is nothing else to 
take their place. He is afraid too of the influence of the drama, 
on the ground that it encourages false sentiment, and therefore he 
would not have his children taken to the theatre ; he thinks that 
the effect on the spectators is bad, and on the actors still worse. 
His idea of education is that of harmonious growth, in which are 
insensibly learnt the lessons of temperance and endurance, and 
the body and mind develope in equal proportions. The first prin- 
ciple which runs through all art and nature is simplicity; this 
also is to be the rule of human life. 

The second stage of education is gymnastic, which answers to 
the period of muscular growth and development. The simplicity 
which is enforced in music is extended to gymnastic ; Plato is 
aware that the training of the body may be inconsistent with the 

The Education of the Repiiblic. cciii 

training of the mind, and that bodily exercise may be easily over- Republic. 
done. Excessive training of the body is apt to give men a headache 
or to render them sleepy at a lecture on philosophy, and this they 
attribute not to the true cause, but to the nature of the subject. 
Two points are noticeable in Plato's treatment of gymnastic : 
First, that the time of training is entirely separated from the time 
of literary education. He seems to have thought that two things 
of an opposite and different nature could not be learnt at the same 
time. Here we can hardly agree with him ; and, if we may judge by 
experience, the effect of spending three years between the ages of 
fourteen and seventeen in mere bodily exercise would be far from 
improving to the intellect. Secondly, he affirms that music and 
gymnastic are not, as common opinion is apt to imagine, intended, 
the one for the cultivation of the mind and the other of the body, 
but that they are both equally designed for the improvement of the 
mind. The body, in his view, is the servant of the mind ; the 
subjection of the lower to the higher is for the advantage of both. 
And doubtless the mind may exercise a very great and paramount 
influence over the body, if exerted not at particular moments and 
by fits and starts, but continuously, in making preparation for the 
whole of life. Other Greek writers saw the mischievous tendency 
of Spartan discipline (Arist. Pol. viii. 4, i foil. ; Thuc. ii. 37, 39). 
But only Plato recognized the fundamental error on which the 
practice was based. 

The subject of gymnastic leads Plato to the sister subject of 
medicine, which he further illustrates by the parallel of law. 
The modern disbelief in medicine has led in this, as in some other 
departments of knowledge, to a demand for greater simplicity ; 
physicians are becoming aware that they often make diseases 
* greater and more complicated ' by their treatment of them 
(Rep. iv. 426 A). In two thousand years their art has made but 
slender progress ; what they have gained in the analysis of the 
parts is in a great degree lost by their feebler conception of the 
human frame as a whole. They have attended more to the cure 
of diseases than to the conditions of health ; and the improvements 
in medicine have been more than counterbalanced by the disuse 
of regular training. Until lately they have hardly thought of air 
and water, the importance of which was well understood by the 
ancients ; as Aristotle remarks, 'Air and water, being the elements 

cciv The Education of the Republic, 

Republic, which we most use, have the greatest effect upon health ' (Polit. 
vii - IT > 4)- For a S es physicians have been under the dominion of 
prejudices which have only recently given way ; and now there 
are as many opinions in medicine as in theology, and an equal 
degree of scepticism and some want of toleration about both. Plato 
has several good notions about medicine ; according to him, 'the 
eye cannot be cured without the rest of the body, nor the body 
without the mind ' (Charm. 156 E). No man of sense, he says in 
the Timaeus, would take physic ; and we heartily sympathize with 
him in the Laws when he declares that ' the limbs of the rustic 
worn with toil will derive more benefit from warm baths than from 
the prescriptions of a not over wise doctor ' (vi. 761 C). But we 
can hardly praise him when, in obedience to the authority of 
Homer, he depreciates diet, or approve of the inhuman spirit in 
which he would get rid of invalid and useless lives by leaving 
them to die. He does not seem to have considered that the ' bridle 
of Theages ' might be accompanied by qualities which were of far 
more value to the State than the health or strength of the citizens ; 
or that the duty of taking care of the helpless might be an important 
element of education in a State. The physician himself (this is 
a delicate and subtle observation) should not be a man in robust 
health ; he should have, in modern phraseology, a nervous tem- 
perament ; he should have experience of disease in his own person, 
in order that his powers of observation may be quickened in the 
case of others. 

The perplexity of medicine is paralleled by the perplexity of 
law ; in which, again, Plato would have men follow the golden rule 
of simplicity. Greater matters are to be determined by the 
legislator or by the oracle of Delphi, lesser matters are to be left 
to the temporary regulation of the citizens themselves. Plato is 
aware that laissez faire is an important element of government. 
The diseases of a State are like the heads of a hydra; they 
multiply when they are cut off. The true remedy for them is not 
extirpation but prevention. And the way to prevent them is to 
take care of education, and education will take care of all the rest. 
So in modern times men have often felt that the only political 
measure worth having the only one which would produce any 
certain or lasting effect, was a measure of national education. And 
in our own more than in any previous age the necessity has been 

The Education of the Republic. ccv 

recognized of restoring the ever-increasing confusion of law to Republic. 
simplicity and common sense. INTRODUC- 

When the training in music and gymnastic is completed, there 
follows the first stage of active and public life. But soon education 
is to begin again from a new point of view. In the interval 
between the Fourth and Seventh Books we have discussed the 
nature of knowledge, and have thence been led to form a higher 
conception of what was required of us. For true knowledge, 
according to Plato, is of abstractions, and has to do, not with 
particulars or individuals, but with universals only ; not with the 
beauties of poetry, but with the ideas of philosophy. And the 
great aim of education is the cultivation of the habit of abstraction. 
This is to be acquired through the study of the mathematical 
sciences. They alone are capable of giving ideas of relation, and 
of arousing the dormant energies of thought. 

Mathematics in the age of Plato comprehended a very small part 
of that which is now included in them ; but they bore a much 
larger proportion to the sum of human knowledge. They were 
the only organon of thought which the human mind at that time 
possessed, and the only measure by which the chaos of particulars 
could be reduced to rule and order. The faculty which they 
trained was naturally at war with the poetical or imaginative ; and 
hence to Plato, who is everywhere seeking for abstractions and 
trying to get rid of the illusions of sense, nearly the whole of edu- 
cation is contained in them. They seemed to have an inexhaustible 
application, partly because their true limits were not yet under- 
stood. These Plato himself is beginning to investigate ; though 
not aware that number and figure are mere abstractions of sense, 
he recognizes that the forms used by geometry are borrowed 
from the sensible world (vi. 510, 511). He seeks to find the 
ultimate ground of mathematical ideas in the idea of good, though 
he does not satisfactorily explain the connexion between them; 
and in his conception of the relation of ideas to numbers, he falls 
very far short of the definiteness attributed to him by Aristotle 
(Met. i. 8, 24 ; ix. 17). But if he fails to recognize the true limits 
of mathematics, he also reaches a point beyond them ; in his view, 
ideas of number become secondary to a higher conception of 
knowledge. The dialectician is as much above the mathematician 
as the mathematician is above the ordinary man (cp. vii. 526 D, 

ccvi The Idea of Good. 

Republic. 531 E). The one, the self-proving, the good which is the higher 
sphere of dialectic, is the perfect truth to which all things ascend, 
and in which they finally repose. 

This self-proving unity or idea of good is a mere vision of 
which no distinct explanation can be given, relative only to a 
particular stage in Greek philosophy. It is an abstraction under 
which no individuals are comprehended, a whole which has 
no parts (cf. Arist, Nic. Eth., i. 4). The vacancy of such a form 
was perceived by Aristotle, but not by Plato. Nor did he recognize 
that in the dialectical process are included two or more methods 
of investigation which are at variance with each other. He did 
not see that whether he took the longer or the shorter road, no 
advance could be made in this way. And yet such visions often 
have an immense effect ; for although the method of science 
cannot anticipate science, the idea of science, not as it is, but 
as it will be in the future, is a great and inspiring principle. In 
the pursuit of knowledge we are always pressing forward to 
something beyond us ; and as a false conception of knowledge, 
for example the scholastic philosophy, may lead men astray during 
many ages, so the true ideal, though vacant, may draw all 
their thoughts in a right direction. It makes a great difference 
whether the general expectation of knowledge, as this indefinite 
feeling may be termed, is based upon a sound judgment. For 
mankind may often entertain a true conception of what knowledge 
ought to be when they have but a slender experience of facts. 
The correlation of the sciences, the consciousness of the unity 
of nature, the idea of classification, the sense of proportion, 
the unwillingness to stop short of certainty or to confound pro- 
bability with truth, are important principles of the higher edu- 
cation. Although Plato could tell us nothing, and perhaps knew 
that he could tell us nothing, of the absolute truth, he has exercised 
an influence on the human mind which even at the present day 
is not exhausted ; and political and social questions may yet arise 
in which the thoughts of Plato may be read anew and receive 
a fresh meaning. 

The Idea of good is so called only in the Republic, but there 
are traces of it in other dialogues of Plato. It is a cause as 
well as an idea, and from this point of view may be compared 
with the creator of the Timaeus, who out of his goodness created 

The Science of Dialectic. ccvii 

all things. It corresponds to a certain extent with the modern Republic. 

conception of a law of nature, or of a final cause, or of both in INTRODUC- 
one, and in this regard may be connected with the measure 

and symmetry of the Philebus. It is represented in the Sym- 
posium under the aspect of beauty, and is supposed to be attained 
there by stages of initiation, as here by regular gradations of 
knowledge. Viewed subjectively, it is the process or science 
of dialectic. This is the science which, according to the Phae- 
drus, is the true basis of rhetoric, which alone is able to distin- 
guish the natures and classes of men and things ; which divides 
a whole into the natural parts, and reunites the scattered parts, 
into a natural or organized whole ; which defines the abstract 
essences or universal ideas of all things, and connects them; 
which pierces the veil of hypotheses and reaches the final cause 
or first principle of all; wjhich regards the sciences in relation 
to the idea of good. This ideal science is the highest process 
of thought, and may be described as the soul conversing with 
herself or holding communion with eternal truth and beauty, 
and in another form is the everlasting question and answer 
the ceaseless interrogative of Socrates. The dialogues of Plato 
are themselves examples of the nature and method of dialectic. . 

Viewed objectively, the idea of good is a power or cause which 
makes the world without us correspond with the world within. 
Yet this world without us is still a world of ideas. With Plato 
the investigation of nature is another department of knowledge, 
and in this he seeks to attain only probable conclusions (cp. 
Timaeus, 44 D). 

If we ask whether this science of dialectic which Plato only 
half explains to us is more akin to logic or to metaphysics, the 
answer is that in his mind the two sciences are not as yet dis- 
tinguished, any more than the subjective and objective aspects 
of the world and of man, which German philosophy has revealed 
to us. Nor has he determined whether his science of dialectic 
is at rest or in motion, concerned with the contemplation of 
absolute being, or with a process of development and evolu- 
tion. Modern metaphysics may be described as the science of 
abstractions, or as the science of the evolution of thought ; modern 
logic, when passing beyond the bounds of mere Aristotelian 
forms, may be defined as the science of method. The germ of 

ccviii The Science of Dialectic. 

Republic, both of them is contained in the Platonic dialectic ; all meta- 
" P n y s i c i ans nave something in common with the ideas of Plato ; 
all logicians have derived something from the method of Plato. 
The nearest approach in modern philosophy to the universal 
science of Plato, is to be found in the Hegelian ' succession of 
moments in the unity of the idea/ Plato and Hegel alike seem 
to have conceived the world as the correlation of abstractions ; 
and not impossibly they would have understood one another 
better than any of their commentators understand them (cp. Swift's 
Voyage to Laputa, c. 8 T ). There is, however, a diiference between 
.them : for whereas Hegel is thinking of all the minds of men 
as one mind, which developes the stages of the idea in different 
countries or at different times in the same country, with Plato 
these gradations are regarded only as an order of thought or 
ideas ; the history of the human mind had not yet dawned 
upon him. 

Many criticisms may be made on Plato's theory of education. 
While in some respects he unavoidably falls short of modern 
thinkers, in others he is in advance of them. He is opposed to 
the modes of education which prevailed in his own time; but 
he can hardly be said to have discovered new ones. He does 

1 ' Having a desire to see those ancients who were most renowned for wit 

* and learning, I set apart one day on purpose. I proposed that Homer and 
' Aristotle might appear at the head of all their commentators ; but these were 
'so numerous that some hundreds were forced to attend in the court and 
'outward rooms of the palace. I knew, and could distinguish these two 

* heroes, at first sight, not only from the crowd, but from each other. Homer 
' was the taller and comelier person of the two, walked very erect for one of 
' his age, and his eyes were the most quick and piercing I ever beheld. Aris- 
' totle stooped much, and made use of a staff. His visage was meagre, his 
' hair lank and thin, and his voice hollow. I soon discovered that both of 
' them were perfect strangers to the rest of the company, and had never seen or 
4 heard of them before. And I had a whisper from a ghost, who shall be 
4 nameless, " That these commentators always kept in the most distant quarters 
' from their principals, in the lower world, through a consciousness of shame 
' and guilt, because they had so horribly misrepresented the meaning of these 
' authors to posterity." I introduced Didymus and Eustathius to Homer, and 
' prevailed on him to treat them better than perhaps they deserved, for he soon 
' found they wanted a genius to enter into the spirit of a poet. But Aristotle 
' was out of all patience with the account I gave him of Scotus and Ramus, as 
' I presented them to him ; and he asked them " whether the rest of the tribe 
' were as great dunces as themselves ? " * 

The Education of later life. ccix 

not see that education is relative to the characters of individuals ; Republic. 

he only desires to impress the same form of the state on the INTRODUC- 

minds of all. He has no sufficient idea of the effect of litera- 
ture on the formation of the mind, and greatly exaggerates 
that of mathematics. His aim is above all things to train 
the reasoning faculties ; to implant in the mind the spirit 
and power of abstraction ; to explain and define general notions, 
and, if possible, to connect them. No wonder that in the vacancy 
of actual knowledge his followers, and at times even he himself, 
should have fallen away from the doctrine of ideas, and have 
returned to that branch of knowledge in which alone the rela- 
tion of the one and many can be truly seen the science of number. 
In his views both of teaching and training he might be styled, 
in modern language, a doctrinaire ; after the Spartan fashion 
he would have his citizens cast in one mould ; he does not seem 
to consider that some degree of freedom, 'a little wholesome 
neglect,' is necessary to strengthen and develope the character 
and to give play to the individual nature. His citizens would 
not have acquired that knowledge which in the vision of Er is sup- 
posed to be gained by the pilgrims from their experience of evil. 

On the other hand, Plato is far in advance of modern philo- 
sophers and theologians when he teaches that education is to 
be continued through life and will begin again in another. He 
would never allow education of some kind to cease ; although 
he was aware that the proverbial saying of Solon, * I grow old 
learning many things,' cannot be applied literally. Himself 
ravished with the contemplation of the idea of good, and de- 
lighting in solid geometry (Rep. vii. 528), he has no difficulty 
in imagining that a lifetime might be passed happily in such 
pursuits. We who know how many more men of business 
there are in the world than real students or thinkers, are not 
equally sanguine. The education which he proposes for his 
citizens is really the ideal life of the philosopher or man of 
genius, interrupted, but only for a time, by practical duties, a 
life not for the many, but for the few. 

Yet the thought of Plato may not be wholly incapable of ap- 
plication to our own times. Even if regarded as an ideal which 
can never be realized, it may have a great effect in elevating 
the characters of mankind, and raising them above the routine 


ccx The Education of later life. 

Republic, of their ordinary occupation or profession. It is the best form 
INTRODUC- under which we can conceive the whole of life. Nevertheless the 


idea of Plato is not easily put into practice. For the education 
of after life is necessarily the education which each one gives 
himself. Men and women cannot be brought together in schools 
or colleges at forty or fifty years of age ; and if they could the 
result would be disappointing. The destination of most men is 
what Plato would call ' the Den ' for the whole of life, and with 
that they are content. Neither have they teachers or advisers 
with whom they can take counsel in riper years. There is no 
' schoolmaster abroad ' who will tell them of their faults, or in- 
spire them with the higher sense of duty, or with the ambition 
of a true success in life ; no Socrates who will convict them of 
ignorance ; no Christ, or follower of Christ, who will reprove them 
of sin. Hence they have a difficulty in receiving the first element 
of improvement, which is self-knowledge. The hopes of youth no 
longer stir them ; they rather wish to rest than to pursue high objects. 
A few only who have come across great men and women, or eminent 
teachers of religion and morality, have received a second life from 
them, and have lighted a candle from the fire of their genius. 

The want of energy is one of the main reasons why so few 
persons continue to improve in later years. They have not the 
will, and do not know the way. They ' never try an experiment,' 
or look up a point of interest for themselves ; they make no sacri- 
fices for the sake of knowledge ; their minds, like their bodies, 
at a certain age become fixed. Genius has been defined as 'the 
power of taking pains ' ; but hardly any one keeps up his interest 
in knowledge throughout a whole life. The troubles of a family, 
the business of making money, the demands of a profession de- 
stroy the elasticity of the mind. The waxen tablet of the memory 
which was once capable of receiving 'true thoughts and clear 
impressions ' becomes hard and crowded ; there is not room for 
the accumulations of a long life (Theaet. 194 ff.). The student, as 
years advance, rather makes an exchange of knowledge than 
adds to his stores. There is no pressing necessity to learn; 
the stock of Classics or History or Natural Science which was 
enough for a man at twenty-five is enough for him at fifty. 
Neither is it easy to give a definite answer to any one who 
asks how he is to improve. For self-education consists in a 

The Education of later life. ccxi 

thousand things, commonplace in themselves, in adding to what Republic. 
we are by nature something of what we are not ; in learning to 
see ourselves as others see us ; in judging, not by opinion, but 
by the evidence of facts ; in seeking out the society of superior 
minds ; in a study of the lives and writings of great men ; in 
observation of the world and character ; in receiving kindly the 
natural influence of different times of life ; in any act or thought 
which is raised above the practice or opinions of mankind; in 
the pursuit of some new or original enquiry; in any effort of 
mind which calls forth some latent power. 

If any one is desirous of carrying out in detail the Platonic 
education of after-life, some such counsels as the following may 
be offered to him : That he shall choose the branch of know- 
ledge to which his own mind most distinctly inclines, and in 
which he takes the greatest delight, either one which seems 
to connect with his own daily employment, or, perhaps, fur- 
nishes the greatest contrast to it. He may study from the 
speculative side the profession or business in which he is practi- 
cally engaged. He may make Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, 
Plato, Bacon the friends and companions of his life. He may 
find opportunities of hearing the living voice of a great teacher. 
He may select for enquiry some point of history or some un- 
explained phenomenon of nature. An hour a day passed in 
such scientific or literary pursuits will furnish as many facts 
as the memory can retain, and will give him ' a pleasure not to 
be repented of (Timaeus, 59 D). Only let him beware of being 
the slave of crotchets, or of running after a Will o' the Wisp in 
his ignorance, or in his vanity of attributing to himself the gifts of 
a poet or assuming the air of a philosopher. He should know 
the limits of his own powers. Better to build up the mind by 
slow additions, to creep on quietly from one thing to another, 
to gain insensibly new powers and new interests in knowledge, 
than to form vast schemes which are never destined to be 
realized. But perhaps, as Plato would say, 'This is part of 
another subject ' (Tim. 87 B) ; though we may also defend our 
digression by his example (Theaet. 72, 77). 

IV. We remark with surprise that the progress of nations or 

P 2 


The Progress of the World. 

Republic, the natural growth of institutions which fill modern treatises on 
UC " P ont i cal philosophy seem hardly ever to have attracted the atten- 
tion of Plato and Aristotle. The ancients were familiar with the 
mutability of human affairs ; they could moralize over the ruins of 
cities and the fall of empires (cp. Plato, Statesman 301, 302, and 
Sulpicius' Letter to Cicero, Ad Fam. iv. 5) ; by them fate and 
chance were deemed to be real powers, almost persons, and to 
have had a great share in political events. The wiser of them 
like Thucydides believed that 'what had been would be again,' 
and that a tolerable idea of the future could be gathered from the 
past. Also they had dreams of a Golden Age which existed once 
upon a time and might still exist in some unknown land, or might 
return again in the remote future. But the regular growth of a 
state enlightened by experience, progressing in knowledge, im- 
proving in the arts, of which the citizens were educated by the 
fulfilment of political duties, appears never to have come within 
the range of their hopes and aspirations. Such a state had never 
been seen, and therefore could not be conceived by them. Their 
experience (cp. Aristot. Metaph. xi. 21 ; Plato, Laws iii. 676-9) 
led them to conclude that there had been cycles of civilization in 
which the arts had been discovered and lost many times over, 
and cities had been overthrown and rebuilt again and again, and 
deluges and volcanoes and other natural convulsions had altered 
the face of the earth. Tradition told them of many destructions 
of mankind and of the preservation of a remnant. The world 
began again after a deluge and was reconstructed out of the 
fragments of itself. Also they were acquainted with empires of 
unknown antiquity, like the Egyptian or Assyrian ; but they had 
never seen them grow, and could not imagine, any more than 
we can, the state of man which preceded them. They were 
puzzled and awestricken by the Egyptian monuments, of which 
the forms, as Plato says, not in a figure, but literally, were ten 
thousand years old (Laws ii. 656 E), and they contrasted the an- 
tiquity of Egypt with their own short memories. 

The early legends of Hellas have no real connection with the 
later history : they are at a distance, and the intermediate region 
is concealed from view ; there is no road or path which leads from 
one to the other. At the beginning of Greek history, in the 
vestibule of the temple, is seen standing first of all the figure of 

The Progress of the World. ccxiii 

the legislator, himself the interpreter and servant of the God. Republic, 
The fundamental laws which he gives are not supposed to change 
with time and circumstances. The salvation of the state is held 
rather to depend on the inviolable maintenance of them. They 
were sanctioned by the authority of heaven, and it was deemed 
impiety to alter them. The desire to maintain them unaltered 
seems to be the origin of what at first sight is very surprising 
to us the intolerant zeal of Plato against innovators in religion 
or politics (cp. Laws x. 907-9) ; although with a happy incon- 
sistency he is also willing that the laws of other countries should 
be studied and improvements in legislation privately communi- 
cated to the Nocturnal Council (Laws xii. 951, 2). The additions 
which were made to them in later ages in order to meet the 
increasing complexity of affairs were still ascribed by a fiction 
to the original legislator; and the words of such enactments at 
Athens were disputed over as if they had been the words of 
Solon himself. Plato hopes to preserve in a later generation the 
mind of the legislator ; he would have his citizens remain within 
the lines which he has laid down for them. He would not harass 
them with minute regulations, and he would have allowed some 
changes in the laws : but not changes which would affect the 
fundamental institutions of the state, such for example as would 
convert an aristocracy into a timocracy, or a timocracy into a 
popular form of government. 

Passing from speculations to facts, we observe that progress 
has been the exception rather than the law of human history. 
And therefore we are not surprised to find that the idea of pro- 
gress is of modern rather than of ancient date ; and, like the idea 
of a philosophy of history, is not more than a century or two old. 
It seems to have arisen out of the impression left on the human 
mind by the growth of the Roman Empire and of the Christian 
Church, and to be due to the political and social improvements 
which they introduced into the world ; and still more in our own 
century to the idealism of the first French Revolution and the 
triumph of American Independence ; and in a yet greater degree 
to the vast material prosperity and growth of population in 
England and her colonies and in America. It is also to be 
ascribed in a measure to the greater study of the philosophy of 
history. The optimist temperament of some great writers has 

ccxiv The Republic and the Laws. 

Republic, assisted the creation of it, while the opposite character has led a 
INTRODUC- f ew to regard the future of the world as dark. The ' spectator of 
all time and of all existence ' sees more of ' the increasing purpose 
which through the ages ran ' than formerly : but to the inhabitant 
of a small state of Hellas the vision was necessarily limited like 
the valley in which he dwelt. There was no remote past on 
which his eye could rest, nor any future from which the veil 
was partly lifted up by the analogy of history. The narrowness 
of view, which to ourselves appears so singular, was to him 
natural, if not unavoidable. 

V. For the relation of the Republic to the Statesman and the 
Laws, the two other works of Plato which directly treat of politics, 
see the Introductions to the two latter ; a few general points of 
comparison may be touched upon in this place. 

And first of the Laws, (i) The Republic, though probably 
written at intervals, yet speaking generally and judging by the 
indications of thought and style, may be reasonably ascribed to 
the middle period of Plato's life : the Laws are certainly the work 
of his declining years, and some portions of them at any rate seem 
to have been written in extreme old age. (2) The Republic is 
full of hope and aspiration : the Laws bear the stamp of failure 
and disappointment. The one is a finished work which received 
the last touches of the author : the other is imperfectly executed, 
and apparently unfinished. The one has the grace and beauty of 
youth : the other has lost the poetical form, but has more of the 
severity and knowledge of life which is characteristic of old age. 
(3) The most conspicuous defect of the Laws is the failure of 
dramatic power, whereas the Republic is full of striking contrasts 
of ideas and oppositions of character. (4) The Laws may be said 
to have more the nature of a sermon, the Republic of a poem ; 
the one is more religious, the other more intellectual. (5) Many 
theories of Plato, such as the doctrine of ideas, the government 
of the world by philosophers, are not found in the Laws ; the 
immortality of the soul is first mentioned in xii. 959, 967 ; the 
person of Socrates has altogether disappeared. The community 
of women and children is renounced ; the institution of common 
or public meals for women (Laws vi. 781) is for the first time intro- 

The Republic and the Laws. ccxv 

duced (Ar. Pol. ii. 6, 5). (6) There remains in the Laws the old Republic. 
enmity to the poets (vii. 817), who are ironically saluted in high- INTRODUC- 
flown terms, and, at the same time, are peremptorily ordered out 
of the city, if they are not willing to submit their poems to the 
censorship of the magistrates (cp. Rep. iii. 398). (7) Though the 
work is in most respects inferior, there are a few passages in the 
Laws, such as v. 727 ff. (the honour due to the soul), viii. 835 ff. 
(the evils of licentious or unnatural love), the whole of Book x. 
(religion), xi. 918 ff. (the dishonesty of retail trade), and 923 ff. 
(bequests), which come more home to us, and contain more of 
what may be termed the modern element in Plato than almost 
anything in the Republic. 

The relation of the two works to one another is very well given : 
(i) by Aristotle in the Politics (ii. 6, 1-5) from the side of 
the Laws : 

'The same, or nearly the same, objections apply to Plato's 
' later work, the Laws, and therefore we had better examine briefly 
'the constitution which is therein described. In the Republic, 
' Socrates has definitely settled in all a few questions only ; such 
'as the community of women and children, the community of 
'property, and the constitution of the state. The population is 
' divided into two classes one of husbandmen, and the other of 
' warriors ; from this latter is taken a third class of counsellors 
' and rulers of the state. But Socrates has not determined whether 
'the husbandmen and artists are to have a share in the govern- 
'ment, and whether they too are to carry arms and share in 
'military service or not. He certainly thinks that the women 
'ought to share in the education of the guardians, and to fight 
'by their side. The remainder of the work is filled up with 
'digressions foreign to the main subject, and with discussions 
'about the education of the guardians. In the Laws there is 
' hardly anything but laws ; not much is said about the constitution. 
' This, which he had intended to make more of the ordinary type, 
' he gradually brings round to the other or ideal form. For with 
'the exception of the community of women and property, he 
' supposes everything to be the same in both states ; there is to be 
' the same education ; the citizens of both are to live free from 
' servile occupations, and there are to be common meals in both. 
' The only difference is that in the Laws the common meals are 

ccxvi The Republk and the Laws. 

Republic. ' extended to women, and the warriors number about 5000, but in 
INTRODUC- < the Republic only 1000.' 


(ii) by Plato in the Laws (Book v. 739 B-E), from the side of 
the Republic : 

' The first and highest form of the state and of the government 
'and of the law is that in which there prevails most widely the 
' ancient saying that " Friends have all things in common." Whether 
' there is now, or ever will be, this communion of women and 
'children and of property, in which the private and individual 
' is altogether banished from life, and things which are by nature 

* private, such as eyes and ears and hands, have become common, 

* and all men express praise and blame, and feel joy and sorrow, 
' on the same occasions, and the laws unite the city to the utmost, 
' whether all this is possible or not, I say that no man, acting upon 
' any other principle, will ever constitute a state more exalted in 
'virtue, or truer or better than this. Such a state, whether in- 
' habited by Gods or sons of Gods, will make them blessed who 
' dwell therein ; and therefore to this we are to look for the pattern 
1 of the state, and to cling to this, and, as far as possible, to seek 
' for one which is like this. The state which we have now in hand, 
'when created, will be nearest to immortality and unity in the 
' next degree ; and after that, by the grace of God, we will com- 
' plete the third one. And we will begin by speaking of the nature 
1 and origin of the second.' 

The comparatively short work called the Statesman or Politicus 
in its style and manner is more akin to the Laws, while in its 
idealism it rather resembles the Republic. As far as we can 
judge by various indications of language and thought, it must 
be later than the one and of course earlier than the other. In 
both the Republic and Statesman a close connection is maintained 
between Politics and Dialectic. In the Statesman, enquiries into 
the principles of Method are interspersed with discussions about 
Politics. The comparative advantages of the rule of law and of 
a person are considered, and the decision given in favour of a 
person (Arist. Pol. iii. 15, 16). But much may be said on the other 
side, nor is the opposition necessary ; for a person may rule by law, 
and law may be so applied as to be the living voice of the legis- 
lator. As in the Republic, there is a myth, describing, however, 
not a future, but a former existence of mankind. The question is 

Cicero s De Republica. ccxvii 

asked, ' Whether the state of innocence which is described in the Republic. 
myth, or a state like our own which possesses art and science and I NTRODU <> 
distmguishes good from evil, is the preferable condition of man.' 
To this question of the comparative happiness of civilized and 
primitive life, which was so often discussed in the last century and 
in our own, no answer is given. The Statesman, though less 
perfect in style than the Republic and of far less range, may 
justly be regarded as one of the greatest of Plato's dialogues. 

VI. Others as well as Plato have chosen an ideal Republic to 
be the vehicle of thoughts which they could not definitely express, 
or which went beyond their own age. The classical writing 
which approaches most nearly to the Republic of Plato is the 
* De Republica ' of Cicero ; but neither in this nor in any other 
of his dialogues does he rival the art of Plato. The manners are 
clumsy and inferior ; the hand of the rhetorician is apparent at 
every turn. Yet noble sentiments are constantly recurring : the 
true note of Roman patriotism ' We Romans are a great people ' 
resounds through the whole work. Like Socrates, Cicero turns 
away from the phenomena of the heavens to civil and political 
life. He would rather not discuss the 'two Suns' of which all 
Rome was talking, when he can converse about ' the two nations 
in one' which had divided Rome ever since the days of the 
Gracchi. Like Socrates again, speaking in the person of Scipio, 
he is afraid lest he should assume too much the character of a 
teacher, rather than of an equal who is discussing among friends 
the two sides of a question. He would confine the terms King 
or State to the rule of reason and justice, and he will not concede 
that title either to a democracy or to a monarchy. But under 
the rule of reason and justice he is willing to include the natural 
superior ruling over the natural inferior, which he compares to 
the soul ruling over the body. He prefers a mixture of forms 
of government to any single one. The two portraits of the just 
and the unjust, which occur in the second book of the Republic, 
are transferred to the state Philus, one of the interlocutors, 
maintaining against his will the necessity of injustice as a 
principle of government, while the other, Laelius, supports the 
opposite thesis. His views of language and number are derived 

ccxviii St. Augustine s De Civitate Dei. 


Republic, from Plato ; like him he denounces the drama. He also declares 
t ^ ia * ^ kis ^ e were to b e twice as long he would have no time 
to read the lyric poets. The picture of democracy is translated 
by him word for word, though he has hardly shown himself able 
to '.carry the jest ' of Plato. He converts into a stately sentence 
the humorous fancy about the animals, who ' are so imbued with 
the spirit of democracy that they make the passers-by get out 
of their way' (i. 42). His description of the tyrant is imitated 
from Plato, but is far inferior. The second book is historical, 
and claims for the Roman constitution (which is to him the ideal) 
a foundation of fact such as Plato probably intended to have given 
to the Republic in the Critias. His most remarkable imitation 
of Plato is the adaptation of the vision of Er, which is converted 
by Cicero into the ' Somnium Scipionis ' ; he has ' romanized ' 
the myth of the Republic, adding an argument for the immortality 
of the soul taken from the Phaedrus, and some other touches 
derived from the Phaedo and the Timaeus. Though a beautiful 
tale and containing splendid passages, the ' Somnium Scipionis ' is 
very inferior to the vision of Er ; it is only a dream, and hardly 
allows the reader to suppose that the writer believes in his own 
creation. Whether his dialogues were framed on the model of 
the lost dialogues of Aristotle, as he himself tells us, or of Plato, 
to which they bear many superficial resemblances, he is still the 
Roman orator; he is not conversing, but making speeches, and 
is never able to mould the intractable Latin to the grace and 
ease of the Greek Platonic dialogue. But if he is defective in 
form, much more is he inferior to the Greek in matter; he no- 
where in his philosophical writings leaves upon our minds the 
impression of an original thinker. 

Plato's Republic has been said to be a church and not a state ; 
and such an ideal of a city in the heavens has always hovered 
over the Christian world, and is embodied in St. Augustine's ' De 
Civitate Dei,' which is suggested by the decay and fall of the 
Roman Empire, much in the same manner in which we may 
imagine the Republic of Plato to have been influenced by the 
decline of Greek politics in the writer's own age. The difference 
is that in the time of Plato the degeneracy, though certain, was 
gradual and insensible: whereas the taking of Rome by the 
Goths stirred like an earthquake the age of St. Augustine. Men 

St. Augustine s De Civitate Dei. ccxix 

were inclined to believe that the overthrow of the city was to be Republic. 
ascribed to the anger felt by the old Roman deities at the neglect 
of their worship. St. Augustine maintains the opposite thesis ; 
he argues that the destruction of the Roman Empire is due, 
not to the rise of Christianity, but to the vices of Paganism. 
He wanders over Roman history, and over Greek philosophy 
and mythology, and finds everywhere crime, impiety and false- 
hood. He compares the worst parts of the Gentile religions 
with the best elements of the faith of Christ. He shows nothing 
of the spirit which led others of the early Christian Fathers to 
recognize in the writings of the Greek philosophers the power of 
the divine truth. He traces the parallel of the kingdom of God, 
that is, the history of the Jews, contained in their scriptures, 
and of the kingdoms of the world, which are found in gentile 
writers, and pursues them both into an ideal future. It need 
hardly be remarked that his use both of Greek and of Roman 
historians and of the sacred writings of the Jews is wholly 
uncritical. The heathen mythology, the Sybilline oracles, the 
myths of Plato, the dreams of Neo-Platonists are equally regarded 
by him as matter of fact. He must be acknowledged to be a 
strictly polemical or controversial writer who makes the best 
of everything on one side and the worst of everything on the 
other. He has no sympathy with the old Roman life as Plato 
has with Greek life, nor has he any idea of the ecclesiastical 
kingdom which was to arise out of the ruins of the Roman 
empire. He is not blind to the defects of the Christian Church, 
and looks forward to a time when Christian and Pagan shall be 
alike brought before the judgment-seat, and the true City of God 
shall appear. . . . The work of St. Augustine is a curious repertory 
of antiquarian learning and quotations, deeply penetrated with 
Christian ethics, but showing little power of reasoning, and a 
slender knowledge of the Greek literature and language. He 
was a great genius, and a noble character, yet hardly capable of 
feeling or understanding anything external to his own theology. 
Of all the ancient philosophers he is most attracted by Plato, 
though he is very slightly acquainted with his writings. He 
is inclined to believe that the idea of creation in the Timaeus is 
derived from the narrative in Genesis ; and he is strangely taken 
with the coincidence (?) of Plato's saying that 'the philosopher 


ccxx Dante s De Monarchia. 

Republic, is the lover of God,' and the words of the Book of Exodus 
IN UC - in which God reveals himself to Moses (Exod. iii. 14). He 
dwells at length on miracles performed in his own day, of which 
the evidence is regarded by him as irresistible. He speaks in a 
very interesting manner of the beauty and utility of nature and 
of the human frame, which he conceives to aiford a foretaste 
of the heavenly state and of the resurrection of the body. The 
book is not really what to most persons the title of it would 
imply, and belongs to an age which- has passed away. But it 
contains many fine passages and thoughts which are for all 

The short treatise de Monarchia of Dante is by far the most 
remarkable of mediaeval ideals, and bears the impress of the 
great genius in whom Italy and the Middle Ages are so vividly 
reflected. It is the vision of an Universal Empire, which is 
supposed to be the natural and necessary government of the 
world, having a divine authority distinct from the Papacy, yet 
coextensive with it. It is not 'the ghost of the dead Roman 
Empire sitting crowned upon the grave thereof/ but the legitimate 
heir and successor of it, justified by the ancient virtues of the 
Romans and the beneficence of their rule. Their right to be 
the governors of the world is also confirmed by the testimony 
of miracles, and acknowledged by St. Paul when he appealed 
to Caesar, and even more emphatically by Christ Himself, Who 
could not have made atonement for the sins of men if He had 
not been condemned by a divinely authorized tribunal. The 
necessity for the establishment of an Universal Empire is proved 
partly by a priori arguments such as the unity of God and the 
unity of the family or nation ; partly by perversions of Scripture 
and history, by false analogies of nature, by misapplied quotations 
from the classics, and by odd scraps and commonplaces of logic, 
showing a familiar but by no means exact knowledge of Aristotle 
(of Plato there is none). But a more convincing argument still 
is the miserable state of the world, which he touchingly describes. 
He sees no hope of happiness or peace for mankind until all 
nations of the earth are comprehended in a single empire. The 
whole treatise shows how deeply the idea of the Roman Empire 
was fixed in the minds of his contemporaries. Not much argument 
was needed to maintain the truth of a theory which to his own 

Sir Thomas Mores Utopia. ccxxi 

contemporaries seemed so natural and congenial. He speaks, Republic. 
or rather preaches, from the point of view, not of the ecclesiastic, INTRODUC- 
but of the layman, although, as a good Catholic, he is willing 
to acknowledge that in certain respects the Empire must submit 
to the Church. The beginning and end of all his noble reflections 
and of his arguments, good and bad, is the aspiration, 'that in 
this little plot of earth belonging to mortal man life may pass 
in freedom and peace.' So inextricably is his vision of the future 
bound up with the beliefs and circumstances of his own age. 

The 'Utopia' of Sir Thomas More is a surprising monument 
of his genius, and shows a reach of thought far beyond his 
contemporaries. The book was written by him at the age of 
about 34 or 35, and is full of the generous sentiments of youth. 
He brings the light of Plato to bear upon the miserable state 
of his own country. Living not long after the Wars of the 
Roses, and in the dregs of the Catholic Church in England, he 
is indignant at the corruption of the clergy, at the luxury of the 
nobility and gentry, at the sufferings of the poor, at the calamities 
caused by war. To the eye of More the whole world was 
in dissolution and decay; and side by side with the misery 
and oppression which he has described in the First Book of the 
Utopia, he places in the Second Book the ideal state which by 
the help of Plato he had constructed. The times were full of 
stir and intellectual interest. The distant murmur of the Re- 
formation was beginning to be heard. To minds like More's, 
Greek literature was a revelation : there had arisen an art of inter- 
pretation, and the New Testament was beginning to be understood 
as it had never been before, and has not often been since, in its 
natural sense. The life there depicted appeared to him wholly 
unlike that of Christian commonwealths, in which 'he saw 
nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their 
own commodities under the name and title of the Commonwealth.' 
He thought that Christ, like Plato, ' instituted all things common/ 
for which reason, he tells us, the citizens of Utopia were the 
more willing to receive his doctrines 1 . The community of 

1 ' Howbeit, I think this was no small help and furtherance in the matter, 
that they heard us say that Christ instituted among his, all things common, and 
that the same community doth yet remain in the rightest Christian com- 
munities ' (Utopia, English Reprints, p. 144). 

ccxxii Sir Thomas More 5 Utopia. 

Republic, property is a fixed idea with him, though he is aware of the 

INTRODUC- arguments which may be urged on the other side \ We wonder 

how in the reign of Henry VIII, though veiled in another language 

and published in a foreign country, such speculations could have 

been endured. 

He is gifted with far greater dramatic invention than any one 
who succeeded him, with the exception of Swift. In the art of 
feigning he is a worthy disciple of Plato. Like him, starting from 
a small portion of fact, he founds his tale with admirable skill on a 
few lines in the Latin narrative of the voyages of Amerigo 
Vespucci. He is very precise about dates and facts, and has the 
power of making us believe that the narrator of the tale must have 
been an eyewitness. We are fairly puzzled by his manner of 
mixing up real and imaginary persons ; his boy John Clement and 
Peter Giles, the citizen of Antwerp, with whom he disputes about 
the precise words which are supposed to have been used by the 
(imaginary) Portuguese traveller, Raphael Hythloday. 'I have 
the more cause,' says Hythloday, ' to fear that my words shall not 
be believed, for that I know how difficultly and hardly I myself 
would have believed another man telling the same, if I had not 
myself seen it with mine own eyes.' Or again : 'If you had been 
with me in Utopia, and had presently seen their fashions and laws 
as I did which lived there five years and more, and would never 
have come thence, but only to make the new land known here,' 
etc. More greatly regrets that he forgot to ask Hythloday in what 
part of the world Utopia is situated ; he ' would have spent no 
small sum of money rather than it should have escaped him/ and 
he begs Peter Giles to see Hythloday or write to him and obtain 
an answer to the question. After this we are not surprised to 
hear that a Professor of Divinity (perhaps ' a late famous vicar of 
Croydon in Surrey,' as the translator thinks) is desirous of being 
sent thither as a missionary by the High Bishop, ' yea, and that he 
may himself be made Bishop of Utopia, nothing doubting that he 
must obtain this Bishopric with suit ; and he counteth that a godly 

1 ' These things (I say), when I consider with myself, I hold well with Plato, 
and do nothing marvel that he would make no laws for them that refused those 
laws, whereby all men should have and enjoy equal portions of riches and 
commodities. For the wise man did easily foresee this to be the one and only 
way to the wealth of a community, if equality of all things should be brought 
in and established' (Utopia, English Reprints, pp. 67, 68). 

Sir Thomas Mores Utopia. ccxxiii 

suit which proceedeth not of the desire of honour or lucre, but Republic. 
only of a godly zeal.' The design may have failed through the 
disappearance of Hythloday, concerning whom we have 'very 
uncertain news ' after his departure. There is no doubt, however, 
that he had told More and Giles the exact situation of the island, 
but unfortunately at the same moment More's attention, as he is 
reminded in a letter from Giles, was drawn off by a servant, and 
one of the company from a cold caught on shipboard coughed so 
loud as to prevent Giles from hearing. And 'the secret has 
perished' with him; to this day the place of Utopia remains 

The words of Phaedrus (275 B), ' O Socrates, you can easily 
invent Egyptians or anything,' are recalled to our mind as we read 
this lifelike fiction. Yet the greater merit of the work is not the 
admirable art, but the originality of thought. More is as free as 
Plato from the prejudices of his age, and far more tolerant. The 
Utopians do not allow him who believes not in the immortality of 
the soul to share in the administration of the state (cp. Laws x. 
908 foil.), ' howbeit they put him to no punishment, because they 
be persuaded that it is in no man's power to believe what he list ' ; 
and ' no man is to be blamed for reasoning in support of his own 
religion V In the public services * no prayers be used, but such as 
every man may boldly pronounce without giving offence to any 
sect.' He says significantly (p. 143), ' There be that give worship 
to a man that was once of excellent virtue or of famous glory, not 
only as God, but also the chiefest and highest God. But the most 
and the wisest part, rejecting all these, believe that there is a certain 
godly power unknown, far above the capacity and reach of man's 
wit, dispersed throughout all the world, not in bigness, but in 
virtue and power. Him they call the Father of all. To Him 
alone they attribute the beginnings, the increasings, the proceed- 

1 ' One of our company in my presence was sharply punished. He, as soon 
as he was baptised, began, against our wills, with more earnest affection than 
wisdom, to reason of Christ's religion, and began to wax so hot in his matter, 
that he did not only prefer our religion before all other, but also did despise 
and condemn all other, calling them profane, and the followers of them wicked 
and devilish, and the children of everlasting damnation. When he had thus 
long reasoned the matter, they laid hold on him, accused him, and condemned 
him into exile, not as a despiser of religion, but as a seditious person and a 
raiser up of dissension among the people ' (p. 145). 

ccxxiv Sir Thomas Mores Utopia. 

Republic, ings, the changes, and the ends of all things. Neither give they 
INTRODUC- any divine honours to any other than him.' So far was More from 

T10N. J 

sharing the popular beliefs of his time. Yet at the end he reminds 
us that he does not in all respects agree with the customs and 
opinions of the Utopians which he describes. And we should let 
him have the benefit of this saving clause, and not rudely withdraw 
the veil behind which he has been pleased to conceal himself. 

Nor is he less in advance of popular opinion in his political and 
moral speculations. He would like to bring military glory into 
contempt; he wou.ld set all sorts of idle people to profitable 
occupation, including in the same class, priests, women, noblemen, 
gentlemen, and ' sturdy and valiant beggars,' that the labour of all 
may be reduced to six hours a day. His dislike of capital punish- 
ment, and plans for the reformation of offenders ; his detestation of 
priests and lawyers * ; his remark that ' although every one may 
hear of ravenous dogs and wolves and cruel man-eaters, it is not 
easy to find states that are well and wisely governed,' are curiously 
at variance with the notions of his age and indeed with his own life. 
There are many points in which he shows a modern feeling and a 
prophetic insight like Plato. He is a sanitary reformer ; he main- 
tains that civilized states have a right to the soil of waste countries ; 
he is inclined to the opinion which places happiness in virtuous 
pleasures, but herein, as he thinks, not disagreeing from those 
other philosophers who define virtue to be a life according to 
nature. He extends the idea of happiness so as to include the 
happiness of others ; and he argues ingeniously, ' All men agree 
that we ought to make others happy; but if others, how much 
more ourselves ! ' And still he thinks that there may be a more 
excellent way, but to this no man's reason can attain unless heaven 
should inspire him with a higher truth. His ceremonies before 
marriage ; his humane proposal that war should be carried on 
by assassinating the leaders of the enemy, may be compared to 
some of the paradoxes of Plato. He has a charming fancy, like 
the affinities of Greeks and barbarians in the Timaeus, that the 
Utopians learnt the language of the Greeks with the more readi- 
ness because they were originally of the same race with them. He 
is penetrated with the spirit of Plato, and quotes or adapts many 

1 Compare his satirical observation : ' They (the Utopians) have priests of 
exceeding holiness, and therefore very few ' (p. 1 50). 

Sir Thomas Mores Utopia. ccxxv 

thoughts both from the Republic and from the Timaeus. He pre- Republic. 
fers public duties to private, and is somewhat impatient of the 
importunity of relations. His citizens have no silver or gold of 
their own, but are ready enough to pay them to their mercenaries 
(cp. Rep. iv. 422, 423). There is nothing of which he is more con- 
temptuous than the love of money. Gold is used for fetters of 
criminals, and diamonds and pearls for children's necklaces \ 

Like Plato he is full of satirical reflections on governments and 
princes ; on the state of the world and of knowledge. The hero 
of his discourse (Hythloday) is very unwilling to become a minister 
of state, considering that he would lose his independence and his 
advice would never be heeded 2 . He ridicules the new logic of his 
time; the Utopians could never be made to understand the 
doctrine of Second Intentions s . He is very severe on the sports 
of the gentry ; the Utopians count ' hunting the lowest, the vilest, 
and the most abject part of butchery.' He quotes the words of 
the Republic in which the philosopher is described ' standing out 
of the way under a wall until the driving storm of sleet and rain 
be overpast,' which admit of a singular application to More's own 
fate ; although, writing twenty years before (about the year 1514), 

1 When the ambassadors came arrayed in gold and peacocks' feathers ' to 
the eyes of all the Utopians except very few, which had been in other countries 
for some reasonable cause, all that gorgeousness of apparel seemed shameful 
and reproachful. In so much that they most reverently saluted the vilest and 
most abject of them for lords passing over the ambassadors themselves with- 
out any honour, judging them by their wearing of golden chains to be bondmen. 
You should have seen children also, that had cast away their pearls and 
precious stones, when they saw the like sticking upon the ambassadors' caps, 
dig and push their mothers under the sides, saying thus to them " Look, 
mother, how great a lubber doth yet wear pearls and precious stones, as 
though he were a little child still." But the mother ; yea and that also in 
good earnest: "Peace, son," saith she, "I think he be some of the ambas- 
sadors' fools " ' (p. 102). 

3 Cp. an exquisite passage at p. 35, of which the conclusion is as follows: 
' And verily it is naturally given . . . suppressed and ended.' 

3 ' For they have not devised one of all those rules of restrictions, amplifica- 
tions, and suppositions, very wittily invented in the small Logicals, which 
here our children in every place do learn. Furthermore, they were never yet 
able to find out the second intentions ; insomuch that none of them all could 
ever see man himself in common, as they call him, though he be (as you know) 
bigger than was ever any giant, yea, and pointed to of us even with our finger ' 
(P- 105). 

ccxxvi The New Atlantis: The City of the Sun. 

Republic, he can hardly be supposed to have foreseen this. There is no 
IN ON. UC * toucn f satire which strikes deeper than his quiet remark that the 
greater part of the precepts of Christ are more at variance with 
the lives of ordinary Christians than the discourse of Utopia \ 

The 'New Atlantis' is only a fragment, and far inferior in 
merit to the ' Utopia.' The work is full of ingenuity, but wanting 
in creative fancy, and by no means impresses the reader with 
a sense of credibility. In some places Lord Bacon is character- 
istically different from Sir Thomas More, as, for example, in the 
external state which he attributes to the governor of Solomon's 
House, whose dress he minutely describes, while to Sir Thomas 
More such trappings appear simply ridiculous. Yet, after this 
programme of dress, Bacon adds the beautiful trait, ' that he had a 
look as though he pitied men.' Several things are borrowed by 
him from the Timaeus ; but he has injured the unity of style by 
adding thoughts and passages which are taken from the Hebrew 

The 'City of the Sun,' written by Campanella (1568-1639), 
a Dominican friar, several years after the 'New Atlantis' of 
Bacon, has many resemblances to the Republic of Plato. The 
citizens have wives and children in common; their marriages 
are of the same temporary sort, and are arranged by the magis- 
trates from time to time. They do not, however, adopt his 
system of lots, but bring together the best natures, male and 
female, ' according to philosophical rules.' The infants until 
two years of age are brought up by their mothers in public 
temples; and since individuals for the most part educate their 
children badly, at the beginning of their third year they are 
committed to the care of the State, and are taught at first, not out 
of books, but from paintings of all kinds, which are emblazoned 
on the walls of the city. The city has six interior circuits of 
walls, and an outer wall which is the seventh. On this outer 
wall are painted the figures of legislators and philosophers, and 

1 ' And yet the most part of them is more dissident from the manners of the 
world now a days, than my communication was. But preachers, sly and wily 
men, following your counsel (as I suppose) because they saw men evil-willing 
to frame their manners to Christ's rule, they have wrested and wried his 
doctrine, and, like a rule of lead, have applied it to men's manners, that by 
some means at the least way, they might agree together' (p. 66). 

The City of the Sun. ccxxvii 

on each of the interior walls the symbols or forms of some one Republic. 

of the sciences are delineated. The women are, for the most INTRODUC- 
part, trained, like the men, in warlike and other exercises ; but 

they have two special occupations of their own. After a battle, 
they and the boys soothe and relieve the wounded warriors ; 
also they encourage them with embraces and pleasant words 
(cp. Plato, Rep. v. 468). Some elements of the Christian or 
Catholic religion are preserved among them. The life of the 
Apostles is greatly admired by this people because they had 
all things in common; and the short prayer which Jesus Christ 
taught men is used in their worship. It is a duty of the chief 
magistrates to pardon sins, and therefore the whole people make 
secret confession of them to the magistrates, and they to their 
chief, who is a sort of Rector Metaphysicus ; and by this means 
he is well informed ol all that is going on in the minds of men. 
After confession, absolution is granted to the citizens collectively, 
but no one is mentioned by name. There also exists among 
them a practice of perpetual prayer, performed by a succession of 
priests, who change every hour. Their religion is a worship 
of God in Trinity, that is of Wisdom, Love and Power, but 
without any distinction of persons. They behold in the sun 
the reflection of His glory ; mere graven images they reject, 
refusing to fall under the ' tyranny ' of idolatry. 

Many details are given about their customs of eating and 
drinking, about their mode of dressing, their employments, their 
wars. Campanella looks forward to a new mode of education, 
which is to be a study of nature, and not of Aristotle. He would 
not have his citizens waste their time in the consideration of 
what he calls ' the dead signs of things.' He remarks that he 
who knows one science only, does not really know that one 
any more than the rest, and insists strongly on the necessity 
of a variety of knowledge. More scholars are turned out in the 
City of the Sun in one year than by contemporary methods in 
ten or fifteen. He evidently believes, like Bacon, that hence- 
forward natural science will play a great part in education, a 
hope which seems hardly to have been realized, either in our own 
or in any former age ; at any rate the fulfilment of it has been 
long deferred. 

There is a good deal of ingenuity and even originality in this 

ccxxviii Eliot's Monarchy of Man. 

Republic, work, and a most enlightened spirit pervades it. But it has 
INTRODUC- little or no charm of style, and falls very far short of the ' New 


Atlantis' of Bacon, and still more of the ' Utopia' of Sir Thomas 
More. It is full of inconsistencies, and though borrowed from 
Plato, shows but a superficial acquaintance with his writings. It 
is a work such as one might expect to have been written by a 
philosopher and man of genius who was also a friar, and who had 
spent twenty-seven years of his life in a prison of the Inquisition. 
The most interesting feature of the book, common to Plato 
and Sir Thomas More, is the deep feeling which is shown by 
the writer, of the misery and ignorance prevailing among the 
lower classes in his own time. Campanella takes note of Aris- 
totle's answer to Plato's community of property, that in a society 
where all things are common, no individual would have any 
motive to work (Arist. Pol. ii. 5, 6) : he replies, that his citizens 
being happy and contented in themselves (they are required to 
work only four hours a day), will have greater regard for their 
fellows than exists among men at present. He thinks, like Plato, 
that if he abolishes private feelings and interests, a great public 
feeling will take their place. 

Other writings on ideal states, such as the ' Oceana ' of Harring- 
ton, in which the Lord Archon, meaning Cromwell, is described, 
not as he was, but as he ought to have been ; or the ' Argenis ' of 
Barclay, which is an historical allegory of his own time, are 
too unlike Plato to be worth mentioning. More interesting than 
either of these, and far more Platonic in style and thought, is 
Sir John Eliot's 'Monarchy of Man,' in which the prisoner of 
the Tower, no longer able * to be a politician in the land of his 
birth,' turns away from politics to view 'that other city which 
is within him,' and finds on the very threshold of the grave 
that the secret of human happiness is the mastery of self. The 
change of government in the time of the English Commonwealth 
set men thinking about first principles, and gave rise to many 
works of this class. . . . The great original genius of Swift owes 
nothing to Plato ; nor is there any trace in the conversation or 
in the works of Dr. Johnson of any acquaintance with his writings. 
He probably would have refuted Plato without reading him, in 
the same fashion in which he supposed himself to have refuted 
Bishop Berkeley's theory of the non-existence of matter. If we 

The value of Ideals. ccxxix 

except the so-called English Platonists, or rather Neo-Platonists, Republic. 
who never understood their master, and the writings of Coleridge, 
who was to some extent a kindred spirit, Plato has left no 
permanent impression on English literature. 

VII. Human life and conduct are affected by ideals in the same 
way that they are aifected by the examples of eminent men. 
Neither the one nor the other are immediately applicable to prac- 
tice, but there is a virtue flowing from them which tends to raise 
individuals above the common routine of society or trade, and 
to elevate States above the mere interests of commerce or the 
necessities of self-defence. Like the ideals of art they are 
partly framed by the omission of particulars ; they require to 
be viewed at a certain distance, and are apt to fade away if we 
attempt to approach them. They gain an imaginary distinctness 
when embodied in a State or in a system of philosophy, but they 
still remain the visions of *a world unrealized.' More striking 
and obvious to the ordinary mind are the examples of great men, 
who have served their own generation and are remembered in 
another. Even in our own family circle there may have been 
some one, a woman, or even a child, in whose face has shone 
forth a goodness more than human. The ideal then approaches 
nearer to us, and we fondly cling to it. The ideal of the past, 
whether of our own past lives or of former states of society, has 
a singular fascination for the minds of many. Too late we learn 
that such ideals cannot be recalled, though the recollection of them 
may have a humanizing influence on other times. But the abstrac- 
tions of philosophy are to most persons cold and vacant ; they give 
light without warmth ; they are like the full moon in the heavens 
when there are no stars appearing. Men cannot live by thought 
alone ; the world of sense is always breaking in upon them. They 
are for the most part confined to a corner of earth, and see but 
a little way beyond their own home or place of abode ; they ' do 
not lift up their eyes to the hills ' ; they are not awake when 
the dawn appears. But in Plato we have reached a height from 
which a man may look into the distance (Rep. iv. 445 C) and behold 
the future of the world and of philosophy. The ideal of the 
State and of the life of the philosopher ; the ideal of an education 

ccxxx The future of the race and of the individual. 

Republic, continuing through life and extending equally to both sexes ; 
IN T R ioN UC " tlie * deal ^ tne umtv and correlation of knowledge ; the faith in 

good and immortality are the vacant forms of light on which 

Plato is seeking to fix the eye of mankind. 

VIII. Two other ideals, which never appeared above the horizon 
in Greek Philosophy, float before the minds of men in our own 
day : one seen more clearly than formerly, as though each year 
and each generation brought us nearer to some great change ; the 
other almost in the same degree retiring from view behind the 
laws of nature, as if oppressed by them, but still remaining a 
silent hope of we know not what hidden in the heart of man. The 
first ideal is the future of the human race in this world ; the 
second the future of the individual in another. The first is the 
more perfect realization of our own present life ; the second, the 
abnegation of it : the one, limited by experience, the other, 
transcending it. Both of them have been and are powerful 
motives of action ; there are a few in whom they have taken the 
place of all earthly interests. The hope of a future for the human 
race at first sight seems to be the more disinterested, the hope 
of individual existence the more egotistical, of the two motives. 
But when men have learned to resolve their hope of a future 
either for themselves or for the world into the will of God ' not 
my will but Thine,' the difference between them falls away ; and 
they may be allowed to make either of them the basis of their 
lives, according to their own individual character or temperament. 
There is as much faith in the willingness to work for an unseen 
future in this world as in another. Neither is it inconceivable 
that some rare nature may feel his duty to another generation, 
or to another century, almost as strongly as to his own, or that 
living always in the presence of God, he may realize another 
world as vividly as he does this. 

The greatest of all ideals may, or rather must be conceived by 
us under similitudes derived from human qualities ; although 
sometimes, like the Jewish prophets, we may dash away these 
figures of speech and describe the nature of God only in negatives. 
These again by degrees acquire a positive meaning. It would 
be well, if when meditating on the higher truths either of 

The ideal of Divine goodness. ccxxxi 

philosophy or religion, we sometimes substituted one form of Republic. 
expression for another, lest through the necessities of language 
we should become the slaves of mere words. 

There is a third ideal, not the same, but akin to these, which has 
a place in the home and heart of every believer in the religion of 
Christ, and in which men seem to find a nearer and more familiar 
truth, the Divine man, the Son of Man, the Saviour of mankind, 
Who is the first-born and head of the whole family in heaven and 
earth, in Whom the Divine and human, that which is without and 
that which is within the range of our earthly faculties, are indisso- 
lubly united. Neither is this divine form of goodness wholly 
separable from the ideal of the Christian Church, which is said in 
the New Testament to be ' His body,' or at variance with those 
other images of good which Plato sets before us. We see Him in 
a figure only, and of figures of speech we select but a few, and 
those the simplest, to be the expression of Him. We behold Him 
in a picture, but He is not there. We gather up the fragments of 
His discourses, but neither do they represent Him as He truly 
was. His dwelling is neither in heaven nor earth, but in the heart 
of man. This is that image which Plato saw dimly in the distance, 
which, when existing among men, he called, in the language of 
Homer, ' the likeness of God ' (Rep. vi. 501 B), the likeness of a 
nature which in all ages men have felt to be greater and better 
than themselves, and which in endless forms, whether derived 
from Scripture or nature, from the witness of history or from the 
human heart, regarded as a person or not as a person, with or 
without parts or passions, existing in space or not in space, is and 
will always continue to be to mankind the Idea of Good. 




SOCRATES, who is the narrator. CEPHALUS. 



And others who are mute auditors. 

The scene is laid in the house of Cephalus at the Piraeus ; and the whole 
dialogue is narrated by Socrates the day after it actually took place 
to Timaeus, Hermocrates, Critias, and a nameless person, who are 
introduced in the Timaeus. 

Ed. T WENT down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon Republic 
327' A the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to 7 * 
the goddess * ; and also because I wanted to see in what SOCRATES, 
manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a 
new thing. I was delighted with the procession of the Crates f 
inhabitants ; but that of the Thracians was equally, if not and Giau- 
more, beautiful. When we had finished our prayers and conwith 
viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction of the city ; archus 
and at that instant Polemarchus the son of Cephalus chanced at the 


to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on festival, 
our way home, and told his servant to run and bid us wait 
for him. The servant took hold of me by the cloak behind, 
and said : Polemarchus desires you to wait. 

I turned round, and asked him where his master was. 

There he is, said the youth, coming after you, if you will 
only wait. 

1 Bendis, the Thracian Artemis. 

The Home of Polemarchus. 








of friends 
at the 
house of 

Certainly we will, said Glaucon ; and in a few minutes 
Polemarchus appeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon's 
brother, Niceratus the son of Nicias, and several others who 
had been at the procession. 

Polemarchus said to me : I perceive, Socrates, that you 
and your companion are already on your way to the city. 

You are not far wrong, I said. 

But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are ? 

Of course. 

And are you stronger than all these ? for if not, you will 
have to remain where you are. 

May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may per- 
suade you to let us go ? 

But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you ? he 

Certainly not, replied Glaucon. 

Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be 

Adeimantus added : Has no one told you of the torch-race 328 
on horseback in honour of the goddess which will take place 
in the evening ? 

With horses ! I replied : That is a novelty. Will horse- 
men carry torches and pass them one to another during the 

Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will 
be celebrated at night, which you certainly ought to see. 
Let us rise soon after supper and see this festival ; there 
will be a gathering of young men, and we will have a good 
talk. Stay then, and do not be perverse. 

Glaucon said : I suppose, since you insist, that we must. 

Very good, I replied. 

Accordingly we went with Polemarchus to his house ; and 
there we found his brothers Lysias and Euthydemus, and 
with them Thrasymachus the Chalcedonian, Charmantides 
the Paeanian, and Cleitophon the son of Aristonymus. There 
too was Cephalus the father of Polemarchus, whom I had 
not seen for a long time, and I thought him very much aged. 
He was seated on a cushioned chair, and had a garland on 
his head, for he had been sacrificing in the court ; and there 
were some other chairs in the room arranged in a semicircle, 

The aged Cephalus. 3 

upon which we sat down by him. He saluted me eagerly, Republic 
and then he said : 

You don't come to see me, Socrates, as often as you ought : C EPHALVS 


If I were still able to go and see you I would not ask you 
to come to me. But at my age I can hardly get to the city, 
and therefore you should come oftener to the Piraeus. For 
let me tell you, that the more the pleasures of the body fade 
away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of con- 
versation. Do not then deny my request, but make our house 
your resort and keep company with these young men ; we 
are old friends, and you will be quite at home with us. 

I replied : There is nothing which for my part I like better, 
Cephalus, than conversing with aged, men; for I regard 
them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may 
have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way 
is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult. And this is a 
question which I should like to ask of you who have arrived 
at that time which the poets call the ' threshold of old age ' 
Is life harder towards the end, or what report do you give 
of it? 

329 I will tell you, Socrates, he said, what my own feeling is. Old age is 
Men of my age flock together ; we are birds of a feather, as blame for 
the old proverb says ; and at our meetings the tale of my the troubles 
acquaintance commonly is I cannot eat, I cannot drink ; the 
pleasures of youth and love are fled away : there was a good 
time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life. 
Some complain of the slights which are put upon them by 
relations, and they will tell you sadly of how many evils their 
old age is the cause. But to me, Socrates, these complainers 
seem to blame that which is not really in fault. For if old 
age were the cause, I too being old, and every other old 
man, would have felt as they do. But this is not my own 
experience, nor that of others whom I have known. How 
well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer 
to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles, 
are you still the man you were ? Peace, he replied ; most The excel- 
gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel 
as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master. His c ies. 
words have often occurred to my mind since, and they seem 
as good to me now as at the time when he uttered them. 

B 2 


Themistocles and the Seriphian. 



It is ad- 
mitted that 
the old, if 
they are to 
be comfort- 
able, must 
have a fair 
share of 
goods ; 
virtue alone 
nor riches 
alone can 
make an 
old man 

has in- 
rather than 
made a 
fortune ; he 
is therefore 
to money. 

For certainly old age has a great sense of calm and freedom ; 
when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, 
we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, 
but of many. The truth is, Socrates, that these regrets, and 
also the complaints about relations, are to be attributed to 
the same cause, which is not old age, but men's characters 
and tempers ; for he who is of a calm and happy nature will 
hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an 
opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden. 

I listened in admiration, and wanting to draw him out, 
that he might go on Yes, Cephalus, I said ; but I rather 
suspect that people in general are not convinced by you 
when you speak thus ; they think that old age sits lightly upon 
you, not because of your happy disposition, but because you 
are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter. 

You are right, he replied ; they are not convinced : and 
there is something in what they say; not, however, so much 
as they imagine. I might answer them as Themistocles 
answered the Seriphian who was abusing him and saying 
that he was famous, not for his own merits but because he 
was an Athenian : ' If you had been a native of my country 330 
or I of yours, neither of us would have been famous.' And to 
those who are not rich and are impatient of old age, the 
same reply may be made ; for to the good poor man old age 
cannot be a light burden, nor can a bad rich man ever have 
peace with himself. 

May I ask, Cephalus, whether your fortune was for the 
most part inherited or acquired by you ? 

Acquired ! Socrates ; do you want to know how much I 
acquired ? In the art of making money I have been midway 
between my father and grandfather: for my grandfather, 
whose name I bear, doubled and trebled the value of his 
patrimony, that which he inherited being much what I 
possess now ; but my father Lysaniasi reduced the property 
below what it is at present : and I shall be satisfied if I leave 
to these my sons not less but a little more than I received. 

That was why I asked you the question, I replied, be- 
cause I see that you are indifferent about money, which 
is a characteristic rather of those who have inherited their 
fortunes than of those who have acquired them ; the makers 

The real Advantages of Wealth. 

of fortunes have a second love of money as a creation of their Republic 

own, resembling the affection of authors for their own poems, 

or of parents for their children, besides that natural love of SOCRATE& 

it for the sake of use and profit which is common to them 

and all men. And hence they are very bad company, for 

they can talk about nothing but the praises of wealth. 

That is true, he said. 

Yes, that is very true, but may I ask another question ? The advan- 
What do you consider to be the greatest blessing which you 
have reaped from your wealth ? 

One, he said, of which I could not expect easily to con- The fear of 
vince others. For let me tell you, Socrates, that when a f h e f c h *_ nd 
man thinks himself to be near death, fears and cares enter sciousness 
into his mind which he never had before : the tales of a of sm be ~ 

come more 

world below and the punishment which is exacted there of vivid in old 
deeds done here were once a laughing matter to him, but a s e | and to 
now he is tormented with the thought that they may be true : f rees a man 
either from the weakness of age, or because he is now drawing from many 
nearer to that other place, he has a clearer view of these 
things ; suspicions and alarms crowd thickly upon him, and 
he begins to reflect and consider what wrongs he has done to 
others. And when he finds that the sum of his transgres- 
sions is great he will many a time like a child start up in his 
sleep for fear, arid he is filled with dark forebodings. But 
331 to him who is conscious of no sin, sweet hope, as Pindar Thead- 
charmingly says, is the kind nurse of his age : 

' Hope,' he says, ' cherishes the soul of him who lives in justice 
and holiness, and is the nurse of his age and the companion 
of his journey ; hope which is mightiest to sway the restless soul 
of man.' 

How admirable are his words ! And the great blessing of 
riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, 
that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, 
either intentionally or\mintentionally ; and when he departs to 
the world below he is not in any apprehension about offerings 
due to the gods or debts which he owes to men. Now to 
this peace of mind the possession of wealth greatly contri- 
butes; and therefore I say, that, setting one thing against 
another, of the many advantages which wealth has to give, 
to a man of sense this is in my opinion the greatest. 

The first Definition of Justice 




to speak 
truth and 
pay your 

This is the 
of Simon- 
ides. But 
you ought 
not on all 
to do 
What then 
was his 

Well said, Cephalus, I replied ; but as concerning justice, 
what is it? to speak the truth and to pay your debts no 
more than this ? And even to this are there not exceptions ? 
Suppose that a friend when in his right mind has deposited 
arms with me and he asks for them when he is not in his 
right mind, ought I to give them back to him ? No one would 
say that I ought or that I should be right in doing so, any 
more than they would say that I ought always to speak the 
truth to one who is in his condition. 

You are quite right, he replied. 

But then, I said, speaking the truth and paying your debts 
is not a correct definition of justice. 

Quite correct, Socrates, if Simonides is to be believed, 
said Polemarchus interposing. 

I fear, said Cephalus, that I must go now, for I have to 
look after the sacrifices, and I hand over the argument to 
Polemarchus and the company. 

Is not Polemarchus your heir ? I said. 

To be sure, he answered, and went away laughing to the 

Tell me then, O thou heir of the argument, what did 
Simonides say, and according to you truly say, about 
justice ? 

He said that the re-payment of a debt is just, and in saying 
so he appears to me to be right. 

I should be sorry to doubt the word of such a wise and in- 
spired man, but his meaning, though probably clear to you, 
is the reverse of clear to me. For he certainly does not 
mean, as we were just now saying, that I ought to return a 
deposit of arms or of anything else to one who asks for it 
when he is not in his right senses ; and yet a deposit cannot 332 
be denied to be a debt. 


Then when the person who asks me is not in his right 
mind I am by no means to make the return ? 

Certainly not. 

When Simonides said that the repayment of a debt was 
justice, he did not mean to include that case ? 

Certainly not ; for he thinks that a friend ought always to 
do good to a friend and never evil. 

is examined and found wanting. 

You mean that the return of a deposit of gold which is to Republic 
the injury of the receiver, if the two parties are friends, is not L 
the repayment of a debt, that is what you would imagine 
him to say ? 


And are enemies also to receive what we owe to them ? 

To be sure, he said, they are to receive what we owe 
them, and an enemy, as I take it, owes to an enemy that 
which is due or proper to him that is to say, evil. 

Simonides, then, after the manner of poets, would seem to He may 
have spoken darkly of the nature of justice ; for he really ^ "^ 
meant to say that justice is the giving to each man what is justice gives 
proper to him, and this he termed a debt. to frie . nds 

That must have been his meaning, he said* good and 

By heaven ! I replied ; and if we asked him what due or to enemies 
proper thing is given by medicine, and to whom, what answer ^^ 1S 
do you think that he would make to us ? 

He would surely reply that medicine gives drugs and meat 
and drink to human bodies. 

And what due or proper thing is given by cookery, and to 

Seasoning to food. 

And what is that which justice gives, and to whom ? 

If, Socrates, we are to be guided at all by the analogy of 
the preceding instances, then justice is the art which gives 
good to friends and evil to enemies. 

That is his meaning then ? 

I think so. 

And who is best able to do good to his friends and evil to niustra- 
his enemies in time of sickness ? 

The physician. 

Or when they are on a voyage, amid the perils of the sea ? 

The pilot. 

And in what sort of actions or with a view to what result is 
the just man most able to do harm to his enemy and good 
to his friend ? 

In going to war against the one an x d in making alliances 
with the other. 

But when a man is well, my dear Polemarchus, there is no 
need of a physician ? 

8 A further cross-examination. 

Republic No. 

And he who is not on a voyage has no need of a pilot ? 



CHUS. Then in time of peace justice will be of no use ? 

I am very far from thinking so. 

You think that justice may be of use in peace as well as 333 
in war ? 


Like husbandry for the acquisition of corn ? 


Or like shoemaking for the acquisition of shoes, that is 
what you mean ? 


And what similar use or power of acquisition has justice in 
time of peace ? 
justice is In contracts, Socrates, justice is of use. 

contracts ^ n( * ^ v contracts vou mean partnerships ? 


But is the just man or the skilful player a more useful and 
better partner at a game of draughts ? 

The skilful player. 

And in the laying of bricks and stones is the just man a 
more useful or better partner than the builder ? 

Quite the reverse. 

Then in what sort of partnership is the just man a better 
partner than the harp-player, as in playing the harp the harp- 
player is certainly a better partner than the just man ? 

In a money partnership. 

Yes, Polemarchus, but surely not in the use of money ; for 
you do not want a just man to be your counsellor in the pur- 
chase or sale of a horse ; a man who is knowing about horses 
would be better for that, would he not ? 


And when you want to buy a ship, the shipwright or the 
pilot would be better ? 


Then what is that joint use of silver or gold in which the 
especially just man is to be preferred ? 
keephi^oT When you want a deposit to be kept safely, 
deposits. You mean when money is not wanted, but allowed to lie ? 

Justice turns out to be a Thief. 9 

Precisely. Republic 

That is to say, justice is useful when money is useless ? 

That is the inference. SOCRATES, 


And when you want to keep a pruning-hook safe, then jus- cus. 
tice is useful to the individual and to the state ; but when you But not in 
want to use it, then the art of the vine-dresser ? the use of 


Clearly. and if so, 

And when you want to keep a shield or a lyre, and not to justice is 

use them, you would say that justice is useful ; but when you ^ 

want to use them, then the art of the soldier or of the money or 
musician? * 

Certainly. useless. 

And so of all other things ; justice is useful when they 
are useless, and useless when they are useful ? 

That is the inference. 

Then justice is not good for much. But let us consider 
this further point : Is not he who can best strike a blow in 
a boxing match or in any kind of fighting best able to ward 
off a blow? 


And he who is most skilful in preventing or escaping 1 
from a disease is best able to create one ? 


And he is the best guard of a camp who is best able to A new 
334 steal a march upon the enemy? ^\ * s 

Certainly. not he who 

Then he who is a good keeper of anything is also a good is best able 

to do good 
best able to 

That, I suppose, is to be inferred. do evil? 

Then if the just man is good at keeping money, he is 
good at stealing it. 

That is implied in the argument. 

Then after all the just man has turned out to be a thief. 
And this is a lesson which I suspect you must have learnt 
out of Homer; for he, speaking of Autolycus, the maternal 
grandfather of Odysseus, who is a favourite of his, affirms 


He was excellent above all men in theft and perjury. 

And so, you and Homer and Simonides are agreed that 

1 Reading <f>v\&a0Gcu KOI \a0fTv, ovroy, K.T.\. 


More difficulties. 




Justice an 
art of theft 
to be prac- 
tised for the 
good of 
friends and 
the harm of 
But who are 
friends and 
enemies ? 

will some- 

of the defi- 

justice is an art of theft ; to be practised however ' for the 
good of friends and for the harm of enemies/ that was 
what you were saying ? 

No, certainly not that, though I do not now know what I 
did say ; but I still stand by the latter words. 

Well, there is another question : By friends and enemies 
do we mean those who are so really, or only in seeming ? 

Surely, he said, a man may be expected to love those whom 
he thinks good, and to hate those whom he thinks evil. 

Yes, but do not persons often err about good and evil: 
many who are not good seem to be so, and conversely ? 

That is true. 

Then to them the good will be enemies and the evil will 
be their friends ? 


And in that case they will be right in doing good to the 
evil and evil to the good ? 


But the good are just and would not do an injustice ? 


Then according to your argument it is just to injure those 
who do no wrong ? 

Nay, Socrates ; the doctrine is immoral. 

Then I suppose that we ought to do good to the just and 
harm to the unjust? 

I like that better. 

But see the consequence : Many a man who is ignorant of 
human nature has friends who are bad friends, and in that 
case he ought to do harm to them ; and he has good enemies 
whom he ought to benefit ; but, if so, we shall be saying the 
very opposite of that which we affirmed to be the meaning of 

Very true, he said ; and I think that we had better correct 
an error into which we seem to have fallen in the use of the 
words ' friend ' and ' enemy.' 

What was the error, Polemarchus ? I asked. 

We assumed that he is a friend who seems to be or who 
is thought good. 

And how is the error to be corrected ? 

We should rather say that he is a friend who is, as well as 

A new colour given to the definition. 1 1 

335 seems, good ; and that he who seems only, and is not good, Republic 
only seems to be and is not a friend ; and of an enemy the 

same may be said. SOCRATES, 


You would argue that the good are our friends and the CHUS - 

bad our enemies ? To a P- 

we must 

And instead of saying simply as we did at first, that it is addreaiity. 

just to do good to our friends and harm to our enemies, we f ri end who 

should further say: It is just to do good to our friends when 'is' as well 

they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil ? ^o^And 

Yes, that appears to me to be the truth. we should 

But ought the just to injure any one at all ? our^ooV 

Undoubtedly he ought to injure those who are both wicked friends and 

and his enemies. harm to 

When horses are injured, are they improved or deterio- enemies. 

The latter. To harm 

Deteriorated, that is to say, in the good qualities of horses, men is to 

not Of dogs? Zm^and 

Yes, of horses. to injure 

And dogs are deteriorated in the good qualities of dogs, m akethem 

and not of horses ? unjust. But 

And will not men who are injured be deteriorated in that injustice. 
which is the proper virtue of man ? 


And that human virtue is justice ? 

To be sure. 

Then men who are injured are of necessity made unjust? 

That is the result. 

But can the musician by his art make men unmusical ? niustra- 

Certainly not. tions - 

Or the horseman by his art make them bad horsemen ? 


And can the just by justice make men unjust, or speaking 
generally, can the good by virtue make them bad ? 

Assuredly not. 

Any more than heat can produce cold ? 

It cannot. 

Or drought moisture ? 


Failure of the Definition. 





The saying 
is not to be 
to any good 
or wise 

The bru- 
tality of 

Clearly not. 

Nor can the good harm any one ? 


And the just is the good ? 


Then to injure a friend or any one else is not the act of a 
just man, but of the opposite, who is the unjust ? 

I think that what you say is quite true, Socrates. 

Then if a man says that justice consists in the repayment 
of debts, and that good is the debt which a just man owes to 
his friends, and evil the debt which he owes to his enemies, 
to say this is not wise ; for it is not true, if, as has been 
clearly shown, the injuring of another can be in no case just. 

I agree with you, said Polemarchus. 

Then you and I are prepared to take up arms against any 
one who attributes such a saying to Simonides or Bias or 
Pittacus, or any other wise man or seer ? 

I am quite ready to do battle at your side, he said. 

Shall I tell you whose I believe the saying to be ? 336 


I believe that Periander or Perdiccas or Xerxes or Is- 
menias the Theban, or some other rich and mighty man, 
who had a great opinion of his own power, was the first to 
say that justice is 'doing good to your friends and harm to 
your enemies.' 

Most true, he said. 

Yes, I said ; but if this definition of justice also breaks 
down, what other can be offered ? 

Several times in the course of the discussion Thrasymachus 
had made an attempt to get the argument into his own hands, 
and had been put down by the rest of the company, who 
wanted to hear the end. But when Polemarchus and I 
had done speaking and there was a pause, he could no 
longer hold his peace ; and, gathering himself up, he came 
at us like a wild beast, seeking to devour us. We were 
quite panic-stricken at the sight of him. 

He roared out to the whole company : What folly, Socrates, 
has taken possession of you all ? And why, sillybillies, do 
you knock under to one another ? I say that if you want 
really to know what justice is, you should not only ask but 

The Irony of Socrates. 13 

answer, and you should not seek honour to yourself from Republic 
the refutation of an opponent, but have your own answer ; 
for there is many a one who can ask and cannot answer. 
And now I will not have you say that justice is duty or ad- 
vantage or profit or gain or interest, for this sort of nonsense 
will not do for me ; I must have clearness and accuracy. 

I was panic-stricken at his words, and could not look at 
him without trembling. Indeed I believe that if I had not 
fixed my eye upon him, I should have been struck dumb: 
but when I saw his fury rising, I looked at him first, and was 
therefore able to reply to him. 

Thrasymachus, I said, with a quiver, don't be hard upon us. 
Polemarchus and I may have been guilty of a little mistake 
in the argument, but I can assure you that the error was not 
intentional. If we were seeking for a piece of gold, you 
would not imagine that we were ' knocking under to one 
another/ and so losing our chance of finding it. And why, 
when we are seeking for justice, a thing more precious than 
many pieces of gold, do you say that we are weakly yielding 
to one another and not doing our utmost to get at the truth ? 
Nay, my good friend, we are most willing and anxious to do 
so, but the fact is that we cannot. And if so, you people who 
know all things should pity us and not be angry with us. 
337 How characteristic of Socrates ! he replied, with a bitter 
laugh ; that's your ironical style ! Did I not foresee have 
I not already told you, that whatever he was asked he would 
refuse to answer, and try irony or any other shuffle, in order 
that he might avoid answering ? 

You are a philosopher, Thrasymachus, I replied, and well Socrates 
know that if you ask a person what numbers make up twelve, a^answer 
taking care to prohibit him whom you ask from answering twice if all true 

six, or three times four, or six times two, or four times three, answe - rs , are 

. excluded. 

' for this sort of nonsense will not do for me/ then obviously, 

if that is your way of putting the question, no one can answer 
you. But suppose that he were to retort, 'Thrasymachus, Thrasyma- 
what do you mean? If one of these numbers which you saUed^with 
interdict be the true answer to the question, am I falsely his own 
to say some other number which is not the right one ? is wea P ns - 
that your meaning ? ' How would you answer him ? 
Just as if the two cases were at all alike ! he said. 

The Irony of Socrates is 





The So- 
phist de- 
mands pay- 
ment for 
his instruc- 
tions. The 
are very 
willing to 

knows little 
or nothing : 
how can he 
answer ? 
And he is 
deterred by 
the inter- 
dict of 

Why should they not be ? I replied ; and even if they 
are not, but only appear to be so to the person who is asked, 
ought he not to say what he thinks, whether you and I forbid 
him or not ? 

I presume then that you are going to make one of the 
interdicted answers ? 

I dare say that I may, notwithstanding the danger, if upon 
reflection I approve of any of them. 

But what if I give you an answer about justice other and 
better, he said, than any of these ? What do you deserve to 
have done to you ? 

Done to me ! as becomes the ignorant, I must learn from 
the wise that is what I deserve to have done to me. 

What, and no payment ! a pleasant notion ! 

I will pay when I have the money, I replied. 

But you have, Socrates, said Glaucon : and you, Thrasyma- 
chus, need be under no anxiety about money, for we will all 
make a contribution for Socrates. 

Yes, he replied, and then Socrates will do as he always 
does refuse to answer himself, but take and pull to pieces 
the answer of some one else. 

Why, my good friend, I said, how can any one answer who 
knows, and says that he knows, just nothing ; and who, even 
if he has some faint notions of his own, is told by a man 
of authority not to utter them ? The natural thing is, that 
the speaker should be some one like yourself who pro- 338 
fesses to know and can tell what he knows. Will you then 
kindly answer, for the edification of the company and of 
myself ? 

Glaucon and the rest of the company joined in my request, 
and Thrasymachus, as any one might see, was in reality eager 
to speak ; for he thought that he had an excellent answer, and 
would distinguish himself. But at first he affected to insist 
on my answering ; at length he consented to begin. Behold, 
he said, the wisdom of Socrates ; he refuses to teach himself) 
and goes about learning of others, to -whom he never even 
says Thank you. 

That I learn of others, I replied, is quite true ; but that 
I am ungrateful I wholly deny. Money I have none, and 
therefore I pay in praise, which is all I have ; and how ready 

too much for Thrasymachus. 1 5 

I am to praise any one who appears to me to speak well you Republic 
will very soon find out when you answer ; for I expect that 
you will answer well. 

Listen, then, he said ; I proclaim that justice is nothing 

else than the interest of the stronger. And now why do you The d f fini ' 

_ _ _ tion of 

not praise me ? But of course you won t. Thrasy- 

Let me first understand you, I replied. Justice, as you say, machus: 
is the interest of the stronger. What, Thrasymachus, is the t^nterest 
meaning of this? You cannot mean to say that because of the 
Polydamas, the pancratiast, is stronger than we are, and JJJJCT? 61 " 
finds the eating of beef conducive to his bodily strength, that 
to eat beef is therefore equally for our good who are weaker 
than he is, and right and just for us ? 

That's abominable of you, Socrates ; you take the words in 
the sense which is most damaging to the argument. 

Not at all, my good sir, I said ; I am trying to understand 
them ; and I wish that you would be a little clearer. 

Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of govern- 
ment differ ; there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, 
and there are aristocracies ? 

Yes, I know. 

And the government is the ruling power in each state ? 


And the different forms of government make laws demo- Socrates 
cratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several ^J^ 18 
interests ; and these laws, which are made by them for their machus to 
own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their explain his 
subjects, and him who transgresses them they punish as a 
breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean 
when I say that in all states there is the same principle of 
justice, which is the interest of the government ; and as the 
339 government must be supposed to have power, the only 
reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one prin- 
ciple of justice, which is the interest of the stronger. 

Now I understand you, I said ; and whether you are right 
or not I will try to discover. But let me remark, that in 
defining justice you have yourself used the word 'interest* 
which you forbade me to use. It is true, however, that 
in your definition the words ' of the stronger ' are added. 

A small addition, you must allow, he said. 


Are Words always to be used 




He is dis- 
with the 
nation ; for 
rulers may 

And then 
the justice 
makes a 
will turn 
out to be 
the reverse 
of the in- 
terest of the 

Great or small, never mind about that: we must first 
enquire whether what you are saying is the truth. Now 
we are both agreed that justice is interest of some sort, but 
you go on to say ' of the stronger J ; about this addition I am 
not so sure, and must therefore consider further. 


I will ; and first tell me, Do you admit that it is just for 
subjects to obey their rulers ? 

I do. 

But are the rulers of states absolutely infallible, or are they 
sometimes liable to err ? 

To be sure, he replied, they are liable to err. 

Then in making their laws they may sometimes make 
them rightly, and sometimes not ? 


When they make them rightly, they make them agreeably 
to their interest ; when they are mistaken, contrary to their 
interest ; you admit that ? 


And the laws which they make must be obeyed by their 
subjects, and that is what you call justice ? 


Then justice, according to your argument, is not only 
obedience to the interest of the stronger but the reverse ? 

What is that you are saying ? he asked. 

I am only repeating what you are saying, I believe. But 
let us consider : Have we not admitted that the rulers may 
be mistaken about their own interest in what they command, 
and also that to obey them is justice? Has not that been 
admitted ? 


Then you must also have acknowledged justice not to be for 
the interest of the stronger, when the rulers unintentionally 
command things to be done which are to their own injury. 
For if, as you say, justice is the obedience which the subject 
renders to their commands, in that case, O wisest of men, is 
there any escape from the conclusion that the weaker are 
commanded to do, not what is for the interest, but what is for 
the injury of the stronger? 

Nothing can be clearer, Socrates, said Polemarchus. 

in their strictest sense? 

340 Yes, said Cleitophon, interposing, if you are allowed to be 
his witness. 

But there is no need of any witness, said Polemarchus, 
for Thrasymachus himself acknowledges that rulers may 
sometimes command what is not for their own interest, and 
that for subjects to obey them is justice. 

Yes, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus said that for subjects 
to do what was commanded by their rulers is just. 

Yes, Cleitophon, but he also said that justice is the 
interest of the stronger, and, while admitting both these 
propositions, he further acknowledged that the stronger may 
command the weaker who are his subjects to do what is not 
for his own interest ; whence follows that justice is the injury 
quite as much as the interest of the stronger. 

But, said Cleitophon, he meant by the interest of the 
stronger what the stronger thought to be his interest, this 
was what the weaker had to do ; and this was affirmed by 
him to be justice. 

Those were not his words, rejoined Polemarchus. 

Never mind, I replied, if he now says that they are, let us 
accept his statement. Tell me, Thrasymachus, I said, did 
you mean by justice what the stronger thought to be his 
interest, whether really so or not ? 

Certainly not, he said. Do you suppose that I call him 
who is mistaken the stronger at the time when he is 
mistaken ? 

Yes, I said, my impression was that you did so, when you 
admitted that the ruler was not infallible but might be some- 
times mistaken. 

You argue like an informer, Socrates. Do you mean, for 
example, that he who is mistaken about the sick is a phy- 
sician in that he is mistaken ? or that he who errs in 
arithmetic or grammar is an arithmetician or grammarian 
at the time when he is making the mistake, in respect of the 
mistake? True, we say that the physician or arithmetician 
or grammarian has made a mistake, but this is only a way of 
speaking; for the fact is that neither the grammarian nor 
any other person of skill ever makes a mistake in so far as 
he is what his name implies ; they none of them err unless 
their skill fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists. 





tries to 
make a 
way of 
escape for 
machus by 
the words 
' thought 
to be.' 

This eva- 
sion is re- 
by Thra- 
symachus ; 

who adopts 
line of 
defence : 
' No artist 
or ruler is 
ever mis- 
taken qud 
artist or 


The argument with Thrasymachus 



The essen- 
tial mean- 
ing of 
words dis- 
from their 

No artist or sage or ruler errs at the time when he is what 
his name implies ; though he is commonly said to err, and I 
adopted the common mode of speaking. But to be perfectly 
accurate, since you are such a lover of accuracy, we should say 
that the ruler, in so far as he is a ruler, is unerring, and, 
being unerring, always commands that which is for his own 34 1 
interest; and the subject is required to execute his com- 
mands; and therefore, as I said at first and now repeat, 
justice is the interest of the stronger. 

Indeed, Thrasymachus, and do I really appear to you to 
argue like an informer ? 

Certainly, he replied. 

And do you suppose that I ask these questions with any 
design of injuring you in the argument ? 

Nay, he replied, ' suppose ' is not the word I know it ; but 
you will be found out, and by sheer force of argument you 
will never prevail. 

I shall not make the attempt, my dear nian ; but to avoid 
any misunderstanding occurring between us in future, let me 
ask, in what sense do you speak of a ruler or stronger whose 
interest, as you were saying, he being the superior, it is just 
that the inferior should execute is he a ruler in the popular 
or in the strict sense of the term ? 

In the strictest of all senses, he said. And now cheat and 
play the informer if you can ; I ask no quarter at your hands. 
But you never will be able, never. 

And do you imagine, I said, that I am such a madman as 
to try and cheat Thrasymachus? I might as well shave 
a lion. 

Why, he said, you made the attempt a minute ago, and you 

Enough, I said, of these civilities. It will be better that I 
should ask you a question : Is the physician, taken in that 
strict sense of which you are speaking, a healer of the sick 
or a maker of money? And remember that I am now 
speaking of the true physician. 

A healer of the sick, he replied. 

And the pilot that is to say, the true pilot is he a captain 
of sailors or a mere sailor ? 

A captain of sailors. 

is drawing to a conclusion. 19 

The circumstance that he sails in the ship is not to be Republic 
taken into account ; neither is he to be called a sailor ; the 

name pilot by which he is distinguished has nothing to do 
with sailing, but is significant of his skill and of his authority 
over the sailors. 

Very true, he said. 

Now, I said, every art has an interest ? 


For which the art has to consider and provide ? 

Yes, that is the aim of art. 

And the interest of any art is the perfection of it this and 
nothing else? 

What do you mean ? 

I mean what I may illustrate negatively by the example of 
the body. Suppose you were to ask me whether the body is 
self-sufficing or has wants, I should reply : Certainly the body 
has wants ; for the body may be ill and require to be cured, 
and has therefor^ interests to which the art of medicine 
ministers ; and this is the origin and intention of medicine, 
as you will acknowledge. Am I not right ? 
342 Quite right, he replied. 

But is the art of medicine or any other art faulty or Art has no 
deficient in any quality in the same way that the eye may be ^J^be 
deficient in sight or the ear fail of hearing, and therefore corrected, 
requires another art to provide for the interests of seeing j^* 6 ^. 
and hearing has art in itself, I say, any similar . liability to traneous 
fault or defect, and does every art require another supple- mterest - 
mentary art to provide for its interests, and that another and 
another without end ? Or have the arts to look only after 
their own interests ? Or have they no need either of them- 
selves or of another ? having no faults or defects, they have 
no need to correct them, either by the exercise of their own 
art or of any other ; they have only to consider the interest 
of their subject-matter. For every art remains pure and 
faultless while remaining true that is to say, while perfect 
and unimpaired. Take the words in your precise sense, and 
tell me whether I am not right. 

Yes, clearly. 

Then medicine does not consider the interest of medicine, lUustra- 
but the interest of the body ? 

C 2 


When he suddenly creates a diversion. 




The dis- 
ness of 

The impu- 
dence of 

True, he said. 

Nor does the art of horsemanship consider the interests of 
the art of horsemanship, but the interests of the horse ; 
neither do any other arts care for themselves, for they have 
no needs ; they care only for that which is the subject of 
their art ? 

True, he said. 

But surely, Thrasymachus, the arts are the superiors and 
rulers of their own subjects? 

To this he assented with a good deal of reluctance. 

Then, I said, no science or art considers or enjoins the 
interest of the stronger or superior, but only the interest 
of the subject and weaker ? 

He made an attempt to contest this proposition also, but 
finally acquiesced. 

Then, I continued, no physician, in so far as he is a 
physician, considers his own good in what he prescribes, but 
the good of his patient ; for the true physician is also a ruler 
having the human body as a subject, and is not a mere 
money-maker ; that has been admitted ? 


And the pilot likewise, in the strict sense of the term, is a 
ruler of sailors and not a mere sailor ? 

That has been admitted. 

And such a pilot and ruler will provide and prescribe for 
the interest of the sailor who is under him, and not for 
his own or the ruler's interest ? 

He gave a reluctant ' Yes.' 

Then, I said, Thrasymachus, there is no one in any rule 
who, in so far as he is a ruler, considers or enjoins what is 
for his own interest, but always what is for the interest of his 
subject or suitable to his art ; to that he looks, and that alone 
he considers in everything which he says and does. 

When we had got to this point in the argument, and every 343 
one saw that the definition of justice had been completely 
upset, Thrasymachus, instead of replying to me, said : Tell 
me, Socrates, have you got a nurse ? 

Why do you ask such a question, I said, when you ought 
rather to be answering ? 

Because she leaves you to snivel, and never wipes your 

Instead of answering questions he makes a speech. 21 

nose : she has not even taught you to know the shepherd Republic 
from the sheep. 

What makes you say that ? I replied. 
Because you fancy that the shepherd or neatherd fattens 
or tends the sheep or oxen with a view to their own good Thrasyma- 

,_ . chus dilates 

and not to the good of himself or his master ; and you upon the 
further imagine that the rulers of states, if they are true advantages 
rulers, never think of their subjects as sheep, and that they 
are not studying their own advantage day and night. Oh, 
no ; and so entirely astray are you in your ideas about 
the just and unjust as not even to know that justice and the 
just are in reality another's good ; that is to say, the interest 
of the ruler and stronger, and the loss of the subject and 
servant ; and injustice the opposite ; for the unjust is lord 
over the truly simple and just: he is the stronger, and 
his subjects do what is for his interest, and minister to his 
happiness, which is very far from being their own. Consider 
further, most foolish Socrates, that the just is always a loser 
in comparison with the unjust. First of all, in private 
contracts : wherever the unjust is the partner of the just 
you will find that, when the partnership is dissolved, the 
unjust man has always more and the just less. Secondly, 
in their dealings with the State : when there is an income-tax, 
the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same 
amount of income ; and when there is anything to be received 
the one gains nothing and the other much. Observe also especially 
what happens when they take an office ; there is the just man ^j 1 ^^' 
neglecting his affairs and perhaps suffering other losses, and great scale. 
getting nothing out of the public, because he is just ; more- 
over he is hated by his friends and acquaintance for refusing 
to serve them in unlawful ways. But all this is reversed 
in the case of the unjust man. I am speaking, as before, of 
344 injustice on a large scale in which the advantage of the unjust 
is most apparent ; and my meaning will be most clearly seen 
if we turn to that highest form of injustice in which the 
criminal is the happiest of men, and the sufferers or those 
who refuse to do injustice are the most miserable that is to Tyranny. 
say tyranny, which by fraud and force takes away the pro- 
perty of others, not little by little but wholesale ; compre- 
hending in one, things sacred as well as profane, private 


Thrasymachus in the hands of Socrates. 


CHUS. ' 


wants to 

run away, 

but is de- 
tained by 

the com- 


and public ; for which acts of wrong, if he were detected 
perpetrating any one of them singly, he would be punished 
anc j incur great disgrace they who do such wrong in par- 
ticular cases are called robbers of temples, and man-stealers 
and burglars and swindlers and thieves. But when a man 
besides taking away the money of the citizens has made 
slaves of them, then, instead of these names of reproach, he 
is termed happy and blessed, not only by the citizens but by 
all who hear of his having achieved the consummation of 
injustice. For mankind censure injustice, fearing that they 
may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from 
committing it. And thus, as I have shown, Socrates, in- 
justice, when on a sufficient scale, has more strength and 
freedom and mastery than justice ; and, as I said at first, 
justice is the interest of the stronger, whereas injustice is 
a man's own profit and interest. 

Thrasymachus, when he had thus spoken, having, like a 
bath-man, deluged our ears with his words, had a mind to go 
away. But the company would not let him; they insisted 
tnat ne snou id remain and defend his position ; and I myself 
added my own humble request that he would not leave us. 
Thrasymachus, I said to him, excellent man, how suggestive 


are your remarks ! And are you going to run away before 
you have fairly taught or learned whether they are true or 
not ? Is the attempt to determine the way of man's life so 
small a matter in your eyes to determine how life may be 
passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage ? 

And do I differ from you, he said, as to the importance of 
the enquiry ? 

You appear rather, I replied, to have no care or thought 
about us, Thrasymachus whether we live better or worse 
from not knowing what you say you know, is to you a matter 
of indifference. Prithee, friend, do not keep your knowledge 345 
to yourself; we are a large party; and any benefit which you 
confer upon us will be amply rewarded. For my own part I 
openly declare that I am not convinced, and that I do not 
believe injustice to be more gainful than justice, even if un- 
controlled and allowed to have free play. For, granting that 
there may be an unjust man who is able to commit injustice 
either by fraud or force, still this does not convince me of the 

The art of payment. 23 

superior advantage of injustice, and there may be others who Republic 
are in the same predicament with myself. Perhaps we may L 
be wrong ; if so, you in your wisdom should convince us that ^^1 
we are mistaken in preferring justice to injustice. CHUS. 

And how am I to convince you, he said, if you are not The swag- 
already convinced by what I have just said ; what more can 
I do for you ? Would you have me put the proof bodily into chus. 
your souls ? 

Heaven forbid ! I said ; I would only ask you to be con- 
sistent ; or, if you change, change openly and let there be no 
deception. For I must remark, Thrasymachus, if you will 
recall what was previously said, that although you began by 
defining the true physician in an exact sense, you did not 
observe a like exactness when speaking of the shepherd ; 
you thought that the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep 
not with a view to their own good, but like a mere diner or 
banquetter with a view to the pleasures of the table ; or, 
again, as a trader for sale in the market, and not as a shep- 
herd. Yet surely the art of the shepherd is concerned only 
with the good of his subjects ; he has only to provide the 
best for them, since the perfection of the art is already en- 
sured whenever all the requirements of it are satisfied. And 
that was what I was saying just now about the ruler. I con- 
ceived that the art of the ruler, considered as ruler, whether 
in a state or in private life, could only regard the good of his 
flock or subjects ; whereas you seem to think that the rulers 
in states, that is to say, the true rulers, like being in authority. 

Think ! Nay, I am sure of it. 

Then why in the case of lesser offices do men never take 

them willingly without payment, unless under the idea that 

346 they govern for the advantage not of themselves but of 

others ? Let me ask you a question : Are not the several The arts 
arts different, by reason of their each having a separate 
function ? And, my dear illustrious friend, do say what you tions and 
think, that we may make a little progress. bTcon-* 

Yes, that is the difference, he replied. founded 

And each art gives us a particular good and not merely a JJJJ^f^L 
general one medicine, for example, gives us health ; navi- ment which 
gation, safety at sea, and so on ? * 

Yes, he said. 




The true 
ruler or 
artist seeks, 
not his own 
but the 

Governments rule for their subjects good, 

And the art of payment has the special function of giving 
pay : but we do not confuse this with other arts, any more 
than the art of the pilot is to be confused with the art of 
medicine, because the health of the pilot may be improved by 
a sea voyage. You would not be inclined to say, would you, 
that navigation is the art of medicine, at least if we are to 
adopt your exact use of language ? 

Certainly not. 

Or because a man is in good health when he receives pay 
you would not say that the art of payment is medicine ? 

I should not. 

Nor would you say that medicine is the art of receiving 
pay because a man takes fees when he is engaged in healing ? 

Certainly not. 

And we have admitted, I said, that the good of each art is 
specially confined to the art ? 


Then, if there be any good which all artists have in com- 
mon, that is to be attributed to something of which they all 
have the common use ? 

True, he replied. 

And when the artist is benefited by receiving pay the ad- 
vantage is gained by an additional use of the art of pay, 
which is not the art professed by him ? 

He gave a reluctant assent to this. 

Then the pay is not derived by the several artists from 
their respective arts. But the truth is, that while the art of 
medicine gives health, and the art of the builder builds a 
house, another art attends them which is the art of pay. 
The various arts may be doing their own business and 
benefiting that over which they preside, but would the artist 
receive any benefit from his art unless he were paid as well ? 

I suppose not. 

But does he therefore confer no benefit when he works for 
nothing ? 

Certainly, he confers a benefit. 

Then now, Thrasymachus, there is no longer any doubt 
that neither arts nor governments provide for their own 
interests ; but, as we were before saying, they rule and pro- 
vide for the interests of their subjects who are the weaker 

and must therefore be paid. 25 

and not the stronger to their good they attend and not to Republic 
the good of the superior. And this is the reason, my dear 
Thrasymachus, why, as I was just now saying, no one is 
willing to govern ; because no one likes to take in hand the perfection 
reformation of evils which are not his concern without re- of his art; 
347 muneration. For, in the execution of his work, and in ^ j^ ere 
giving his orders to another, the true artist does not regard must be 
his own interest, but always that of his subjects ; and there- paid ' 
fore in order that rulers may be willing to rule, they must be 
paid in one of three modes of payment, money, or honour, or 
a penalty for refusing. 

What do you mean, Socrates ? said Glaucon. The first two Three 
modes of payment are intelligible enough, but what the penalty n ^^ s of 
is I do not understand, or how a penalty can be a payment, rulers, 

You mean that you do not understand the nature of this ^J 
payment which to the best men is the great inducement to and a 
rule ? Of course you know that ambition and avarice are 
held to be, as indeed they are, a disgrace ? rule. 

Very true. 

And for this reason, I said, money and honour have no 
attraction for them; good men do not wish to be openly 
demanding payment for governing and so to get the name of 
hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the 
public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being 
ambitious they do not care about honour. Wherefore neces- 
sity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to 
serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I imagine, The penai- 
is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of Jviiof be- 
waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable, ing ruled 
Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses f e ^or. in 
to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself. 
And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take 
office, not because they would, but because they cannot help 
not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit 
or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because Inadt 
they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one composed 
who is better than themselves, or indeed as good. For there wholl y of 

. . good men 

is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of there would 
good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object be a great 
of contention as to obtain office is at present; then we should ness to rule. 


Thrasymachus is put to the question. 




chus main- 
tains that 
the life of 
the unjust 
is better 
than the 
life of the 

A paradox 
still more 

have plain proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature 
to regard his own interest, but that of his subjects; and 
every one who knew this would choose rather to receive a 
benefit from another than to have the trouble of conferring 
one. So far am I from agreeing with Thrasymachus that 
justice is the interest of the stronger. This latter question 
need not be further discussed at present ; but when Thrasy- 
machus says that the life of the unjust is more advantageous 
than that of the just, his new statement appears to me to be 
of a far more serious character. Which of us has spoken 
truly ? And which sort of life, Glaucon, do you prefer ? 

I for my part deem the life of the just to be the more 
advantageous, he answered. 

Did you hear all the advantages of the unjust which 348 
Thrasymachus was rehearsing? 

Yes, I heard him, he replied, but he has not convinced me. 

Then shall we try to find some way of convincing him, if 
we can, that he is saying what is not true ? 

Most certainly, he replied. 

If, I said, he makes a set speech and we make another 
recounting all the advantages of being just, and he answers 
and we rejoin, there must be a numbering and measuring of 
the goods which are claimed on either side, and in the 
end we shall want judges to decide ; but if we proceed in 
our enquiry as we lately did, by making admissions to one 
another, we shall unite the offices of judge and advocate 
in our own persons. 

Very good, he said. 

And which method do I understand you to prefer ? I said. 

That which you propose. 

Well, then, Thrasymachus, I said, suppose you begin 
at the beginning and answer me. You say that perfect 
injustice is more gainful than perfect justice ? 

Yes, that is what I say, and I have given you my reasons. 

And what is your view about them ? Would you call one 
of them virtue and the other vice ? 


I suppose that you would call justice virtue and injustice vice? 

What a charming notion ! So likely too, seeing that I 
affirm injustice to be profitable and justice not. 

The just aims at moderation, not at excess. 27 

What else then would you say ? Republic 

The opposite, he replied. 

And would you call justice vice? T^sm*. 

No, I would rather say sublime simplicity. CHUS - 

Then would you call injustice malignity? thatinjus- 

No ; I would rather say discretion. ^ u ^ 

And do the unjust appear to you to be wise and good ? 

Yes, he said ; at any rate those of them who are able to be 
perfectly unjust, and who have the power of subduing states 
and nations ; but perhaps you imagine me to be talking 
of cutpurses. Even this profession if undetected has ad- 
vantages, though they are not to be compared with those of 
which I was just now speaking. 

I do not think that I misapprehend your meaning, Thrasy- 
machus, I replied ; but still I cannot hear without amazement 
that you class injustice with wisdom and virtue, and justice 
with the opposite. 

Certainly, I do so class them. 

Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost 
unanswerable ground ; for if the injustice which you were 
maintaining to be profitable had been admitted by you as by 
others to be vice and deformity, an answer might have been 
given to you on received principles ; but now I perceive that 
349 you will call injustice honourable and strong, and to the 
unjust you will attribute all the qualities which were attributed 
by us before to the just, seeing that you do not hesitate to 
rank injustice with wisdom and virtue. 

You have guessed most infallibly, he replied. 

Then I certainly ought not to shrink from going through 
with the argument so long as I have reason to think that you, 
Thrasymachus, are speaking your real mind ; for I do believe 
that you are now in earnest and are not amusing yourself at 
our expense. 

I may be in earnest or not, but what is that to you ? to 
refute the argument is your business. 

Very true, I said ; that is what I have to do : But will you refuted by 
be so good as answer yet one more question? Does the *e analogy 
just man try to gain any advantage over the just ? 

Far otherwise; if he did he would not be the simple 
amusing creature which he is. 


No art aims at excess. 



The just 
tries to ob- 
tain an ad- 
over the 
unjust, but 
not over 
the just ; 
the unjust 
over both 
just and 


And would he try to go beyond just action ? 

He would not. 

And how would he regard the attempt to gain an advantage 
over the unjust ; would that be considered by him as just or 
unjust ? 

He would think it just, and would try to gain the advantage ; 
but he would not be able. 

Whether he would or would not be able, I said, is not 
to the point. My question is only whether the just man, 
while refusing to have more than another just man, would 
wish and claim to have more than the unjust? 

Yes, he would. 

And what of the unjust does he claim to have more than 
the just man and to do more than is just ? 

Of course, he said, for he claims to have more than all men. 

And the unjust man will strive and struggle to obtain more 
than the unjust man or action, in order that he may have 
more than all ? 


We may put the matter thus, I said the just does not 
desire more than his like but more than his unlike, whereas 
the unjust desires more than both his like and his unlike ? 

Nothing, he said, can be better than that statement. 

And the unjust is good and wise, and the just is neither? 

Good again, he said. 

And is not the unjust like the wise and good and the 
just unlike them ? 

Of course, he said, he who is of a certain nature, is like 
those who are of a certain nature ; he who is not, not. 

Each of them, I said, is such as his like is ? 

Certainly, he replied. 

Very good, Thrasymachus, I said ; and now to take the 
case of the arts : you would admit that one man is a musician 
and another not a musician ? 


And which is wise and which is foolish ? 

Clearly the musician is wise, and he who is not a musician 
is foolish. 

And he is good in as far as he is wise, and bad in as far as 
he is foolish ? 

The final overthrow of Thrasymachus. 29 

Yes. Republic 

And you would say the same sort of thing of the physician ? 



And do you think, my excellent friend, that a musician cus. 
when he adjusts the lyre would desire or claim to exceed or 
go beyond a musician in the tightening and loosening the 
strings ? 

I do not think that he would. 

But he would claim to exceed the non-musician ? 

Of course. 

350 And what would you say of the physician ? In prescribing 
meats and drinks would he wish to go beyond another 
physician or beyond the practice of medicine ? 

He would not. 

But he would wish to go beyond the non-physician ? 


And about knowledge and ignorance in general; see The artist 
whether you think that any man who has knowledge ever J^j^ 
would wish to have the choice of saying or doing more than limits of 
another man who has knowledge. Would he not rather say his art : 
or do the same as his like in the same case ? 

That, I suppose, can hardly be denied. 

And what of the ignorant ? would he not desire to have 
more than either the knowing or the ignorant ? 

I dare say. 

And the knowing is wise ? 


And the wise is good ? 


Then the wise and good will not desire to gain more than 
his like, but more than his unlike and opposite ? 

I suppose so. 

Whereas the bad and ignorant will desire to gain more 
than both ? 


But did we not say, Thrasymachus, that the unjust goes 
beyond both his like and unlike? Were not these your words? 

They were. 

And you also said that the just will not go beyond his 
like but his unlike ? man does 

30 Thrasymachus and Socrates. 

Republic Yes. 

L Then the just is like the wise and good, and the unjust like 

SOCRATES, tne ev ji an( j ignorant ? 


CHUS. That is the inference, 

not exceed ^nd eacn o f them is such as his like is? 

the limits of 

other just That was admitted. 

men. Then the just has turned out to be wise and good and the 

unjust evil and ignorant. 

Thrasyma- Thrasymachus made all these admissions, not fluently, as 
spiring^and * r ep eat them, but with extreme reluctance; it was a hot 
even blush- summer's day, and the perspiration poured from him in 
torrents; and then I saw what I had never seen before, 
Thrasymachus blushing. As we were now agreed that 
justice was virtue and wisdom, and injustice vice and ignor- 
ance, I proceeded to another point : 

Well, I said, Thrasymachus, that matter is now settled; 
but were we not also saying that injustice had strength; 
do you remember ? 

Yes, I remember, he said, but do not suppose that I 
approve of what you are saying or have no answer; if 
however I were to answer, you would be quite certain to 
accuse me of haranguing ; therefore either permit me to have 
my say out, or if you would rather ask, do so, and I will 
answer 'Very good/ as they say to story-telling old women, 
and will nod 'Yes* arid 'No/ 

Certainly not, I said, if contrary to your real opinion. 
Yes, he said, I will, to please you, since you will not let 
me speak. What else would you have ? 

Nothing in the world, I said; and if you are so disposed I 
will ask and you shall answer. 

Then I will repeat the question which I asked before, in 
order that our examination of the relative nature of justice 35 1 
and injustice may be carried on regularly. A statement was 
made that injustice is stronger and more powerful than 
justice, but now justice, having been identified with wisdom 
and virtue, is easily shown to be stronger than injustice, if 
injustice is ignorance; this can no longer be questioned by 
any one. But I want to view the matter, Thrasymachus, in 
a different way: You would not deny that a state may be 

Injustice a principle of weakness and disunion. 31 

unjust and may be unjustly attempting to enslave other Republic 
states, or may have already enslaved them, and may be 

holding many of them in subjection ? 

True, he replied ; and I will add that the best and most 
perfectly unjust state will be most likely to do so. 

I know, I said, that such was your position ; but what I 
would further consider is, whether this power which is 
possessed by the superior state can exist or be exercised 
without justice or only with justice. 

If you are right in your view, and justice is wisdom, then At this 
only with justice ; but if I am right, then without justice. tenT^of 

I am delighted, Thrasymachus, to see you not only Thrasyma- 
nodding assent and dissent, but making answers which are toTm b rove S 
quite excellent. Cp. 5. 450 

That is out of civility to you, he replied. A> 6 ' 498 C ' 

You are very kind, I said ; and would you have the good- 
ness also to inform me, whether you think that a state, or an 
army, or a band of robbers and thieves, or any other gang of 
evil-doers could act at all if they injured one another ? 

No indeed, he said, they could not. 

But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they 
might act together better ? 


And this is because injustice creates divisions and hatreds 
and fighting, and justice imparts harmony and friendship ; is 
not that true, Thrasymachus ? 

I agree, he said, because I do not wish to quarrel with you. Perfect in- 

How good of you, I said ; but I should like to know also Aether in 
whether injustice, having this tendency to arouse hatred, state or in- 
wherever existing, among slaves or among freemen, will J^J^! 
not make them hate one another and set them at variance tiveto 
and render them incapable of common action ? 


And even if injustice be found in two only, will they not 
quarrel and fight, and become enemies to one another and to 
the just? 

They will. 

And suppose injustice abiding in a single person, would 
your wisdom say that she loses or that she retains her 
natural power ? 

The suicidal character of injustice. 




Let us assume that she retains her power. 

Yet is not the power which injustice exercises of such a 
nature that wherever she. takes up her abode, whether in a 
city, in an army, in a family, or in any other body, that body 
is, to begin with, rendered incapable of united action by 35 2 
reason of sedition and distraction ; and does it not become 
its own enemy and at variance with all that opposes it, and 
with the just ? Is not this the case ? 

Yes, certainly. 

And is not injustice equally fatal when existing in a single 
person ; in the first place rendering him incapable of action 
because he is not at unity with himself, and in the second 
place making him an enemy to himself and the just ? Is not 
that true, Thrasymachus ? 


And O my friend, I said, surely the gods are just ? 

Granted that they are. 

But if so, the unjust will be the enemy of the gods, and the 
just will be their friend ? 

Feast away in triumph, 'and take your fill of the argu- 
ment; I will not oppose you, lest I should displease the 

Well then, proceed with your answers, and let me have the 
remainder of my repast. For we have already shown that 
the just are clearly wiser and better and abler than the 
unjust, and that the unjust are incapable of common action ; 
nay more, that to speak as we did of men who are evil 
acting at any time vigorously together, is not strictly true, 
for if they had been perfectly evil, they would have laid 
hands upon one another; but it is evident that there must 
have been some remnant of justice in them, which enabled 
them to combine ; if there had not been they would have 
injured one another as well as their victims ; they were but 
half-villains in their enterprises; for had they been whole 
villains, and utterly unjust, they would have been utterly 
incapable of action. That, as I believe, is the truth of the 
matter, and not what you said at first. But whether the just 
have a better and happier life than the unjust is a further 
question which we also proposed to consider. I think that 
they have, and for the reasons which I have given ; but still 

The nature of ends and excellences. 33 

I should like to examine further, for no light matter is at 
stake, nothing less than the rule of human life. 

Proceed. SOCRATES, 

I will proceed by asking a question : Would you not say 
that a horse has some end ? iiiustra- 

1 Should. ends and 

And the end or use of a horse or of anything would be 
that which could not be accomplished, or not so well accom- tory to the 
plished, by any other thing ? enquiry 

T J J J 1 , int the 

I do not understand, he said. end and 

Let me explain : Can you see, except with the eye ? excellence 

Certainly not. s ^ he 

Or hear, except with the ear ? 


These then may be truly said to be the ends of these organs? 

They may. 

353 But you can cut off a vine-branch with a dagger or with a 
chisel, and in many other ways ? 

Of course. 

And yet not so well as with a pruning-hook made for the 
purpose ? 


May we not say that this is the end of a pruning-hook ? 

We may. 

Then now I think you will have no difficulty in under- 
standing my meaning when I asked the question whether the 
end of anything would be that which could not be accom- 
plished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing ? 

I understand your meaning, he said, and assent. 

And that to which an end is appointed has also an excel- All things 
lence? Need I ask again whether the eye has an end ? which have 

J ends have 

It has. also virtues 

And has not the eye an excellence ? and exce1 ' 

v lences by 

* es which they 

And the ear has an end and an excellence also ? fulfil those 

T, ends. 


And the same is true of all other things ; they have each 
of them an end and a special excellence ? 
That is so. 

Well, and can the eyes fulfil their end if they ate 



Everything has a special end and eoccellence. 




And the 
soul has a 
virtue and 
an end 
the virtue 
justice, the 
end happi- 

justice and 
are neces- 
sarily con- 

wanting in their own proper excellence and have a defect 
instead ? 

How can they, he said, if they are blind and cannot see? 

You mean to say, if they have lost their proper excellence, 
which is sight ; but I have not arrived at that point yet. I 
would rather ask the question more generally, and only en- 
quire whether the things which fulfil their ends fulfil them by 
their own proper excellence, and fail of fulfilling them by 
their own defect ? 

Certainly, he replied. 

I might say the same of the ears ; when deprived of their 
own proper excellence they cannot fulfil their end ? 


And the same observation will apply to all other things ? 

I agree. 

Well ; and has not the soul an end which nothing else can 
fulfil? for example, to superintend and command and deli- 
berate and the like. Are not these functions proper to the 
soul, and can they rightly be assigned to any other ? 

To no other. 

And is not life to be reckoned among the ends of the soul ? 

Assuredly, he said. 

And has not the soul an excellence also ? 


And can she or can she not fulfil her own ends when 
deprived of that excellence ? 

She cannot. 

Then an evil soul must necessarily be an evil ruler and 
superintendent, and the good soul a good ruler ? 

Yes, necessarily. 

And we have admitted that justice is the excellence of the 
soul, and injustice the defect of the soul ? 

That has been admitted. 

Then the just soul and the just man will live well, and the 
unjust man will live ill ? 

That is what your argument proves. 

And he who lives well is blessed and happy, and he who 354 
lives ill the reverse of happy ? 


Then the just is happy, and the unjust miserable ? 

Socrates knows nothing after all. 35 

So be it. Republic 

But happiness and not misery is profitable. 

Of COUrse. ^CRATES, 


Then, my blessed Thrasymachus, injustice can never be CHUS. 
more profitable than justice. 

Let this, Socrates, he said, be your entertainment at the 

For which I am indebted to you, I said, now that you have 
grown gentle towards me and have left off scolding. Never- Socrates is 
theless, I have not been well entertained : but that was my ^pkased 

; J with him- 

own fault and not yours. As an epicure snatches a taste of self and 
every dish which is successively brought to table, he not with the 
having allowed himself time to enjoy the one before, so argun 
have I gone from one subject to another without having 
discovered what I sought at first, the nature of justice. I left 
that enquiry and turned away to consider whether justice is 
virtue and wisdom or evil and folly; and when there arose a 
further question about the comparative advantages of justice 
and injustice, I could not refrain from passing on to that. 
And the result of the whole discussion has been that I know 
nothing at all. For I know not what justice is, and there- 
fore I am not likely to know whether it is or is not a virtue, 
nor can I say whether the just man is happy or unhappy. 

D 2 




The three- 
fold divi- 
sion of 

WITH these words I was thinking that I had made an end steph. 
of the discussion ; but the end, in truth, proved to be only 357 
a beginning. For Glaucon, who is always the most pug- 
nacious of men, was dissatisfied at Thrasymachus' retire- 
ment ; he wanted to have the battle out. So he said to me : 
Socrates, do you wish really to persuade us, or only to seem 
to have persuaded us, that to be just is always better than to 
be unjust ? 

I should wish really to persuade you, I replied, if I could. 

Then you certainly have not succeeded. Let me ask you 
now : How would you arrange goods are there not some 
which we welcome for their own sakes, and independently of 
their consequences, as, for example, harmless pleasures and 
enjoyments, which delight us at the time, although nothing 
follows from them ? 

I agree in thinking that there is such a class, I replied. 

Is there not also a second class of goods, such as know- 
ledge, sight, health, which are desirable not only in them- 
selves, but also for their results ? 

Certainly, I said. 

And would you not recognize a third class, such as gym- 
nastic, and the care of the sick, and the physician's art ; also 
the various ways of money-making these do us good but we 
regard them as disagreeable ; and no one would choose them 
for their own sakes, but only for the sake of some reward or 
result which flows from them ? 

There is, I said, this third class also. But why do you ask ? 

Because I want to know in which of the three classes you 
would place justice ? 

In the highest class, I replied, among those goods which 35 8 

The old question resumed. 37 

he who would be happy desires both for their own sake and Republic 
for the sake of their results. 

Then the many are of another mind ; they think that jus- 
tice is to be reckoned in the troublesome class, among goods 
which are to be pursued for the sake of rewards and of repu- 
tation, but in themselves are disagreeable and rather to be 

I know, I said, that this is their manner of thinking, and 
that this was the thesis which Thrasymachus was maintaining 
just now, when he censured justice and praised injustice. 
But I am too stupid to be convinced by him. 

I wish, he said, that you would hear me as well as him, Three 
and then I shall see whether you and I agree. For Thra- *_ 
symachus seems to me, like a snake, to have been charmed ment : 
by your voice sooner than he ought to have been ; but to my J - Th ^ . na ~ 
mind the nature of justice and injustice have not yet been tice: 
made clear. Setting aside their rewards and results, I want 2 - J ustie . e 

i necessity 

to know what they are in themselves, and how they inwardly but not a 

work in the soul. If you please, then, I will revive the argu- 

ment of Thrasymachus. And first I will speak of the nature sonabie- 

and origin of justice according to the common view of them, ness of this 

Secondly, I will show that all men who practise justice do so 

against their will, of necessity, but not as a good. And 

thirdly, I will argue that there is reason in this view, for the 

life of the unjust is after all better far than the life of the just 

if what they say is true, Socrates, since I myself am not of 

their opinion. But still I acknowledge that I am perplexed 

when I hear the voices of Thrasymachus and myriads of others 

dinning in my ears; and, on the other hand, I have never 

yet heard the superiority of justice to injustice maintained by 

any one in a satisfactory way. I want to hear justice praised 

in respect of itself ; then I shall be satisfied, and you are the 

person from whom I think that I am most likely to hear this ; 

and therefore I will praise the unjust life to the utmost of my 

power, and my manner of speaking will indicate the manner 

in which I desire to hear you too praising justice and 

censuring injustice. Will you say whether you approve of 

my proposal ? 

Indeed I do ; nor can I imagine any theme about which a 
man of sense would oftener wish to converse. 



Justice a 
mise be- 
tween do- 
ing and 

The story 
of Gyges. 

The ring of Gyges. 

I am delighted, he replied, to hear you say so, and shall 
begin by speaking, as I proposed, of the nature and origin of 

They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good ; to suffer 
injustice, evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. 
And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and 
have had experience of both, not being able to avoid the one 359 
and obtain the other, they think that they had better agree 
among themselves to have neither ; hence there arise laws 
and mutual covenants ; and that which is ordained by law is 
termed by them lawful and just. This they affirm to be the 
origin and nature of justice ; it is a mean or compromise, 
between the best of all, which is to do injustice and not be 
punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice 
without the power of retaliation ; and justice, being at a 
middle point between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but 
as the lesser evil, and honoured by reason of the inability of 
men to do injustice. For no man who is worthy to be called 
a man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were 
able to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is the 
received account, Socrates, of the nature and origin of 

Now that those who practise justice do so involuntarily 
and because they have not the power to be unjust will best 
appear if we imagine something of this kind : having given 
both to the just and the unjust power to do what they will, 
let us watch and see whither desire will lead them ; then we 
shall discover in the very act the just and unjust man to be 
proceeding along the same road, following their interest, 
which all natures deem to be their good, and are only di- 
verted into the path of justice by the force of law. The 
liberty which we are supposing may be most completely 
given to them in the form of such a power as is said to have 
been possessed by Gyges, the ancestor of Croesus the Ly- 
dian \ According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in 
the service of the king of Lydia ; there was a great storm, 
and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place 
where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he 

1 Reading Tvyrj r<p Kpoiffov rov AvSov tepoy&vy. 

Who would be just if he could not be found out f 39 

descended into the opening, where, among other marvels, he Republic 
beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors, at which he 
stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as GLAUCON - 
appeared to him, more than human, and having nothing on 
but a gold ring ; this he took from the finger of the dead and 
reascended. Now the shepherds met together, according to 
custom, that they might send their monthly report about the 
flocks to the king ; into their assembly he came having the 
ring on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he 
chanced to turn the collet of the ring inside his hand, when 
instantly he became invisible to the rest of the company and 
they began to speak of him as if he were no longer present. 
360 He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he 
turned the collet outwards and reappeared ; he made several 
trials of the ring, and always with the same result when he 
turned the collet inwards he became invisible, when out- 
wards he reappeared. Whereupon he contrived to be chosen 
one of the messengers who were sent to the court ; where as 
soon as he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help 
conspired against the king and slew him, and took the king- 
dom. Suppose now that there were two such magic rings, The appii- 
and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other ; no ^ Q f 
man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he of Gyges. 
would stand fast in justice. No man would keep his hands 
off what was not his own when he could safely take what he 
liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any 
one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he 
would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then 
the actions of the just would be as the actions of the unjust ; 
they would both come at last to the same point. And this 
we may truly affirm to be a great proof that a man is just, 
not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any good to 
him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one 
thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For 
all men believe in their hearts that injustice is far more 
profitable to the individual than justice, and he who argues 
as I have been supposing, will say that they are right. If 
you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming 
invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was 
another's, he would be thought by the lookers-on to be a 

The just and unjust stripped of appearances. 



The unjust 
to be 
with power 
and repu- 

The just 
to be un- 
clothed of 
all but his 

most wretched idiot, although they would praise him to one 
another's faces, and keep up appearances with one another 
from a fear that they too might suffer injustice. Enough of 

Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the 
just and unjust, we must isolate them ; there is no other 
way ; and how is the isolation to be effected ? I answer : 
Let the unjust man be entirely unjust, and the just man 
entirely just ; nothing is to be taken away from either of 
them, and both are to be perfectly furnished for the work of 
their respective lives. First, let the unjust be like other 
distinguished masters of craft ; like the skilful pilot or 
physician, who knows intuitively his own powers and keeps 361 
within their limits, and who, if he fails at any point, is able 
to recover himself. So let the unjust make his unjust at- 
tempts in the right way, and lie hidden if he means to be 
great in his injustice : (he who is found out is nobody :) for 
the highest reach of injustice is, to be deemed just when you 
are not. Therefore I say that in the perfectly unjust man 
we must assume the most perfect injustice ; there is to be no 
deduction, but we must allow him, while doing the most 
unjust acts, to have acquired the greatest reputation for 
justice. If he have taken a false step he must be able to 
recover himself; he must be one who can speak with effect, if 
any of his deeds come to light, and who can force his way 
where force is required by his courage and strength, and com- 
mand of money and friends. And at his side let us place the 
just man in his nobleness and simplicity, wishing, as Aeschy- 
lus says, to be and not to seem good. There must be no 
seeming, for if he seem to be just he will be honoured and 
rewarded, and then we shall not know whether he is just for 
the sake of justice or for the sake of honours and rewards ; 
therefore, let him be clothed in justice only, and have no 
other covering ; and he must be imagined in a state of life 
the opposite of the former. Let him be the best of men, and 
let him be thought the worst ; then he will have been put to 
the proof; and we shall see whether he will be affected by 
the fear of infamy and its consequences. And let him con- 
tinue thus to the hour of death ; being just and seeming to 
IDC Unjust. When both have reached the uttermost extreme, 

The just in torments, the wicked in prosperity. 41 

the one of justice and the other of injustice, let judgment be Republi 
given which of them is the happier of the two. 


Heavens ! my dear Glaucon, I said, how energetically you 
polish them up for the decision, first one and then the other, 
as if they were two statues. 

I do my best, he said. And now that we know what they 
are like there is no difficulty in tracing out the sort of life 
which awaits either of them. This I will proceed to describe ; 
but as you may think the description a little too coarse, I ask 
you to suppose, Socrates, that the words which follow are 
not mine. Let me put them into the mouths of the eulogists 
of injustice : They will tell you that the just man who is 
thought unjust will be scourged, racked, bound will have 
his eyes burnt out ; and, at last, after suffering every kind of 
evil, he will be impaled : Then he will understand that he The just 
362 ought to seem only, and not to be, just ; the words of J^^^ 1 
Aeschylus maybe more truly spoken of the unjust than of eachexpe- 
the just. For the unjust is pursuing a reality ; he does not ^^ * at 
live with a view to appearances he wants to be really unjust to seem 
and not to seem only : ** to 

1 His mind has a soil deep and fertile, 
Out of which spring his prudent counsels V 

In the first place, he is thought just, and therefore bears rule 
in the city; he can marry whom he will, and give in marriage 
to whom he will ; also he can trade and deal where he likes, The unjust 
and always to his own advantage, because he has no mis- 1^*^.,. 
givings about injustice ; and at every contest, whether in will attain 
public or private, he gets the better of his antagonists, and ^^ rt 
gains at their expense, and is rich, and out of his gains he perity. 
can benefit his friends, and harm his enemies ; moreover, he 
can offer sacrifices, and dedicate gifts to the gods abundantly 
and magnificently, and can honour the gods or any man 
whom he wants to honour in a far better style than the just, 
and therefore he is likely to be dearer than they are to the 
gods. And thus, Socrates, gods and men are said to unite 
in making the life of the unjust better than the life of the just. 
I was going to say something in answer to Glaucon, when 

1 Seven against Thebes, 574. 

' The temporal dispensation' 



tus takes 
up the 
Justice is 
praised and 
blamed, but 
only out of 
regard to 
their con- 

The re- 
wards and 

Adeimantus, his brother, interposed : Socrates, he said, you 
do not suppose that there is nothing more to be urged ? 

Why, what else is there ? I answered. 

The strongest point of all has not been even mentioned, he 

Well, then, according to the proverb, ' Let brother help 
brother ' if he fails in any part do you assist him ; although 
I must confess that Glaucon has already said quite enough 
to lay me in the dust, and take from me the power of helping 

Nonsense, he replied. But let me add something more : 
There is another side to Glaucon's argument about the praise 
and censure of justice and injustice, which is equally required 
in order to bring out what I believe to be his meaning. 
Parents and tutors are always telling their sons and their 
wards that they are to be just ; but why ? not for the sake of 363 
justice, but for the sake of character and reputation ; in the 
hope of obtaining for him who is reputed just some of those 
offices, marriages, and the like which Glaucon has enumerated 
among the advantages accruing to the unjust from the repu- 
tation of justice. More, however,, is made of appearances by 
this class of persons than by the others ; for they throw in 
the good opinion of the gods, and will tell you of a shower 
of benefits which the heavens, as they say, rain upon the 
pious ; and this accords with the testimony of the noble 
Hesiod and Homer, the first of whom says, that the gods 
make the oaks of the just 

* To bear acorns at their summit, and bees in the middle ; 
And the sheep are bowed down with the weight of their fleeces 1 ,' 

and many other blessings of a like kind are provided for 
them. And Homer has a very similar strain; for he speaks 
of one whose fame is 

* As the fame of some blameless king who, like a god, 
Maintains justice ; to whom the black earth brings forth 
Wheat and barley, whose trees are bowed with fruit, 
And his sheep never fail to bear, and the sea gives him fish V 

Still grander are the gifts of heaven which Musaeus and his 
son 3 vouchsafe to the just ; they take them down into the , 

Hesiod, Works and Days, 230. 2 Homer, Od. xix. 109. 


Immoral and impious opinions and beliefs. 43 

world below, where they have the saints lying on couches Republic 

at a feast, everlastingly drunk, crowned with garlands ; their 

idea seems to be that an immortality of drunkenness is the ADEIMANTUS - 

highest meed of virtue. Some extend their rewards yet 
further ; the posterity, as they say, of the faithful and just another 
shall survive to the third and fourth generation. This is the hfe< 
style in which they praise justice. But about the wicked 
there is another strain; they bury them in a slough in 
Hades, and make them carry water in a sieve ; also while 
they are yet living they bring them to infamy, and inflict 
upon them the punishments which Glaucon described as the 
portion of the just who are reputed to be unjust ; nothing 
else does their invention supply. Such is their manner of 
praising the one and censuring the other. 

Once more, Socrates, I will ask you to consider another way Men are 
of speaking about justice and injustice, which is not confined al e ^^ s re ~ 
364 to the poets, but is found in prose writers. The universal that virtue 
voice of mankind is always declaring that justice and virtue jfjj 9 ^ 1 
are honourable, but grievous and toilsome ; and that the pleasant. 
pleasures of vice and injustice are easy of attainment, and are 
only censured by law and opinion. They say also that honesty 
is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty ; and they 
are quite ready to call wicked men happy, and to honour 
them both in public and private when they are rich or in any 
other way influential, while they despise and overlook those 
who may be weak and poor, even though acknowledging 
them to be better than the others. But most extraordinary 
of all is their mode of speaking about virtue and the gods : 
they say that the gods apportion calamity and misery to 
many good men, and good and happiness to the wicked. 
And mendicant prophets go to rich men's doors and per- 
suade them that they have a power committed to them 
by the gods of making an atonement for a man's own 
or his ancestor's sins by sacrifices or charms, with re- 
joicings and feasts; and they promise to harm an enemy, 
whether just or unjust, at a small cost; with magic arts 
and incantations binding heaven, as they say, to execute 
their will. And the poets are the authorities to whom they 
appeal, now smoothing the path of vice with the words of 
Hesiod : 


The effect on the mind of youth. 


' Vice may be had in abundance without trouble ; the way is 
smooth and her dwelling-place is near. But before virtue the 

ADEIMANTUS. gods have Set toil V 

They are 
taught that 
sins may 
be easily 

The effects 
of all this 
upon the 

and a tedious and uphill road : then citing Homer as a 
witness that the gods may be influenced by men ; for he 
also says : 

* The gods, too, may be turned from their purpose ; and men 
pray to them and avert their wrath by sacrifices and soothing 
entreaties, and by libations and the odour of fat, when they have 
sinned and transgressed V 

And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and 
Orpheus, who were children of the Moon and the Muses 
that is what they say according to which they perform their 
ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, 
that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by 
sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are 
equally at the service of the living and the dead ; the latter 
sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains 365 
of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us. 
He proceeded : And now when the young hear all this said 
about virtue and vice, and the way in which gods and men 
regard them, how are their minds likely to be affected, my 
dear Socrates, those of them, I mean, who are quickwitted, 
and, like bees on the wing, light on every flower, and from 
all that they hear are prone to draw conclusions as to what 
manner of persons they should be and in what way they 
should walk if they would make the best of life ? Probably 
the youth will say to himself in the words of Pindar 

' Can I by justice or by crooked ways of deceit ascend a loftier 
tower which may be a fortress to me all my days ? ' 

For what men say is that, if I am really just and am not also 
thought just, profit there is none, but the pain and loss on 
the other hand are unmistakeable. But if, though unjust, 
I acquire the reputation of justice, a heavenly life is promised 
to me. Since then, as philosophers prove, appearance tyran- 
nizes over truth and is lord of happiness, to appearance I 
must devote myself. I will describe around me a picture 
and shadow of virtue to be the vestibule and exterior of my 

Hesiod, Works and Days, 287. 

2 Homer, Iliad, ix. 493. 

' Let us make the best of both worlds' 45 

house; behind I will trail the subtle and crafty fox, as Republic 
Archilochus, greatest of sages, recommends. But I hear 7/ ' 
some one exclaiming that the concealment of wickedness is ADEIMANTUS - 
often difficult; to which I answer, Nothing great is easy. 
Nevertheless, the argument indicates this, if we would be 
happy, to be the path along which we should proceed. With 
a view to concealment we will establish secret brotherhoods 
and political clubs. And there are professors of rhetoric who 
teach the art of persuading courts and assemblies ; and so, 
partly by persuasion and partly by force, I shall make un- 
lawful gains and not be punished. Still I hear a voice 
saying that the gods cannot be deceived, neither can they 
be compelled. But what if there are no gods ? or, suppose 
them to have no care of human things why in either case 
should we mind about concealment? And even if there Theexist- 
are gods, and they do care about us, yet we know of them ^shfonT 
only from tradition and the genealogies of the poets ; and known to 
these are the very persons who say that they may be in- ^ e thr ^J| h 
fluenced and turned by ' sacrifices and soothing entreaties who like-' 
and by offerings.' Let us be consistent then, and believe 
both or neither. If the poets speak truly, why then we had maybe 
366 better be unjust, and offer of the fruits of injustice; for if we f h n a ^ e a 
are just, although we may escape the vengeance of heaven, are very 
we shall lose the gains of injustice; but, if we are unjust, we J ead ? to 
shall keep the gains, and by our sinning and praying, and 
praying and sinning, the gods will be propitiated, and we 
shall not be punished. ' But there is a world below in which 
either we or our posterity will suffer for our unjust deeds.' 
Yes, my friend, will be the reflection, but there are mysteries 
and atoning deities, and these have great power. That is 
what mighty cities declare ; and the children of the gods, 
who were their poets and prophets, bear a like testimony. 

On what principle, then, shall we any longer choose justice 
rather than the worst injustice ? when, if we only unite the 
latter with a deceitful regard to appearances, we shall fare to 
our mind both with gods and men, in life and after death, as 
the most numerous and the highest authorities tell us. Know- 
ing all this, Socrates, how can a man who has any superiority 
of mind or person or rank or wealth, be willing to honour 
justice; or indeed to refrain from laughing when he hears 

The impassioned peroration of Adeimantus. 


All this, 
even if not 
true, af- 
fords great 
excuse for 

Men should 
be taught 
that justice 
is in itself 
the greatest 
good and 
the greatest 

justice praised ? And even if there should be some one who 
is able to disprove the truth of my words, and who is satisfied 
that justice is best, still he is not angry with the unjust, but 
is very ready to forgive them, because he also knows that men 
are not just of their own free will ; unless, peradventure, there 
be some one whom the divinity within him may have inspired 
with a hatred of injustice, or who has attained knowledge of 
the truth but no other man. He only blames injustice who, 
owing to cowardice or age or some weakness, has not the 
power of being unjust. And this is proved by the fact that 
when he obtains the power, he immediately becomes unjust as 
far as he can be. 

The cause of all this, Socrates, was indicated by us at the 
beginning of the argument, when my brother and I told you 
how astonished we were to find that of all the professing 
panegyrists of justice beginning with the ancient heroes of 
whom any memorial has been preserved to us, and ending 
with the men of our own time no one has ever blamed 
injustice or praised justice except with a view to the glories, 
honours, and benefits which flow from them. No one has 
ever adequately described either in verse or prose the true 
essential nature of either of them abiding in the soul, and 
invisible to any human or divine eye ; or shown that of all 
the things of a man's soul which he has within him, justice is 
the greatest good, and injustice the greatest evil. Had this 367 
been the universal strain, had you sought to persuade us of 
this from our youth upwards, we should not have been on 
the watch to keep one another from doing wrong, but every 
one would have been his own watchman, because afraid, if he 
did wrong, of harbouring in himself the greatest of evils. I 
dare say that Thrasymachus and others would seriously hold 
the language which I have been merely repeating, and words 
even stronger than these about justice and injustice, grossly, 
as I conceive, perverting their true nature. But I speak in 
this vehement manner, as I must frankly confess to you, 
because I want to hear from you the opposite side ; and I 
would ask you to show not only the superiority which justice 
has over injustice, but what effect they have on the possessor 
of them which makes the one to be a good and the other an 
evil to him. And please, as Glaucon requested of you, to 

The genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus. 47 

exclude reputations ; for unless you take away from each of Republic 
them his true reputation and add on the false, we shall say 
that you do not praise justice, but the appearance of it; 5?*' 
we shall think that you are only exhorting us to keep in- 
justice dark, and that you really agree with Thrasymachus 
in thinking that justice is another's good and the interest of 
the stronger, and that injustice is a man's own profit and 
interest, though injurious to the weaker. Now as you have 
admitted that justice is one of that highest class of goods 
which are desired indeed for their results, but in a far greater 
degree for their own sakes like sight or hearing or know- 
ledge or health, or any other real and natural and not merely 
conventional good I would ask you in your praise of justice 
to regard one point only : I mean the essential good and evil 
which justice and injustice work in the possessors of them. 
Let others praise justice and censure injustice, magnifying 
the rewards and honours of the one and abusing the other ; 
that is a manner of arguing which, coming from them, I am 
ready to tolerate, but from you who have spent your whole life 
in the consideration of this question, unless I hear the contrary 
from your own lips, I expect something better. And there- 
fore, I say, not only prove to us that justice is better than 
injustice, but show what they either of them do to the 
possessor of them, which makes the one to be a good and 
the other an evil, whether seen or unseen by gods and men. 

I had always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adei- 
mantus, but on hearing these words I was quite delighted, 
368 and said : Sons of an illustrious father, that was not a bad 
beginning of the Elegiac verses which the admirer of Glaucon 
made in honour of you after you had distinguished yourselves 
at the battle of Megara : 

*Sons of Ariston,' he sang, 'divine offspring of an illustrious hero.' 

The epithet is very appropriate, for there is something truly Glaucon 
divine in being able to argue as you have done for the supe- J^^f 61 " 
riority of injustice, and remaining unconvinced by your own able to 
arguments. And I do believe that you are not convinced argue so 
this I infer from your general character, for had I judged uncon- 
only from your speeches I should have mistrusted you. But ced b y 

cj . . their own 

now, the greater my confidence in you, the greater is my arguments 

The individiial and the State. 



The large 

Justice to 
be seen in 
the State 
more easily 
than in the 

difficulty in knowing what to say. For I am in a strait 
between two ; on the one hand I feel that I am unequal 
to the task ; and my inability is brought home to me by the 
fact that you were not satisfied with the answer which I made 
to Thrasymachus, proving, as I thought, the superiority 
which justice has over injustice. And yet I cannot refuse to 
help, while breath and speech remain to me; I am afraid 
that there would be an impiety in being present when justice 
is evil spoken of and not lifting up a hand in her defence. 
And therefore I had best give such help as I can. 

Glaucon and the rest entreated me by all means not to let 
the question drop, but to proceed in the investigation. They 
wanted to arrive at the truth, first, about the nature of justice 
and injustice, and secondly, about their relative advantages. 
I told them, what I really thought, that the enquiry would be 
of a serious nature, and would require very good eyes. 
Seeing then, I said, that we are no great wits, I think that 
we had better adopt a method which I may illustrate thus ; 
suppose that a short-sighted person had been asked by some 
one to read small letters from a distance ; and it occurred to 
some one else that they might be found in another place 
which was larger and in which the letters were larger if 
they were the same and he could read the larger letters first, 
and then proceed to the lesser this would have been thought 
a rare piece of good fortune. 

Very true, said Adeimantus ; but how does the illustration 
apply to our enquiry ? 

I will tell you, I replied ; justice, which is the subject of 
our enquiry, is, as you know, sometimes spoken of as the 
virtue of an individual, and sometimes as the virtue of a 

True, he replied. 

And is not a State larger than an individual ? 

It is. 

Then in the larger the quantity of justice is likely to be 
larger and more easily discernible. I propose therefore that 
we enquire into the nature of justice and injustice, first as 
they appear in the State, and secondly in the individual, 369 
proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing 

The origin of the State. 49 

That, he said, is an excellent proposal. Republic 

And if we imagine the State in process of creation, we 

shall see the justice, and injustice of the State in process 
of creation also. 

I dare say. 

When the State is completed there may be a hope that the 
object of our search will be more easily discovered. 

Yes, far more easily. 

But ought we to attempt to construct one ? I said ; for to 
do so, as I am inclined to think, will be a very serious task. 
Reflect therefore. 

I have reflected, said Adeimantus, and am anxious that 
you should proceed. 

A State, I said, arises, as I conceive, out of the needs The State 
of mankind ; no one is self-sufficing, but all of us have many U^g u 
wants. Can any other origin of a State be imagined ? wants of 

There can be no other. men - 

Then, as we have many wants, and many persons are 
needed to supply them, one takes a helper for one purpose 
and another for another; and when these partners and 
helpers are gathered together in one habitation the body of 
inhabitants is termed a State. 

True, he said. 

And they exchange with one another, and one gives, and 
another receives, under the idea that the exchange will be for 
their good. 

Very true. 

Then, I said, let us begin and create in idea a State ; and 
yet the true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our 

Of course, he replied. 

Now the first and greatest of necessities is food, which is The four or 
the condition of life and existence. need^of** 

Certainly. life, and the 

The second is a dwelling, and the third clothing and the gndsof ve 

like. citizens 

True. whoc r - 

respond to 

And now let us see how our city will be able to supply them. 
this great demand : We may suppose that one man is a 
husbandman, another a builder, some one else a weaver 


The barest notion of a State. 



The divi- 
sion of 

The first 
are : i. a 

shall we add to them a shoemaker, or perhaps some other 
purveyor to our bodily wants ? 

Quite right. 

The barest notion of a State must include four or five men. 


And how will they proceed ? Will each bring the result 
of his labours into a common stock ? the individual hus- 
bandman, for example, producing for four, and labouring 
four times as long and as much as he need in the provision 
of food with which he supplies others as well as himself; or 
will he have nothing to do with others and not be at the 
trouble of producing for them, but provide for himself alone 
a fourth of the food in a fourth of the time, and in the 370 
remaining three fourths of his time be employed in making 
a house or a coat or a pair of shoes, having no partnership 
with others, but supplying himself all his own wants ? 

Adeimantus thought that he should aim at producing food 
only and not at producing everything. 

Probably, I replied, that would be the better way; and 
when I hear you say this, I am myself reminded that we are 
not all alike ; there are diversities of natures among us which 
are adapted to different occupations. 

Very true. 

And will you have a work better done when the workman 
has many occupations, or when he has only one ? 

When he has only one. 

Further, there can be no doubt that a work is spoilt when 
not done at the right time ? 

No doubt. 

For business is not disposed to wait until the doer of the 
business is at leisure ; but the doer must follow up what he 
is doing, and make the business his first object. 

He must. 

And if so, we must infer that all things are produced more 
plentifully and easily and of a better quality when one man 
does one thing which is natural to him and does it at the 
right time, and leaves other things. 


Then more than four citizens will be required; for the 
husbandman will not make his own plough or mattock, or 

More than four or Jive citizens are required. 5 1 

other implements of agriculture, if they are to be good for any- Republic 
thing. Neither will the builder make his tools and he too 7/ ' 
needs many ; and in like manner the weaver and shoemaker. SocRATES 



Then carpenters, and smiths, and many other artisans, will 3 .' 
be sharers in our little State, which is already beginning to 4- a shoe- 


row? To these 

True. must be 

Yet even if we add neatherds, shepherds, and other herds- jfaciaT 
men, in order that our husbandmen may have oxen to plough penter, 6. a 
with, and builders as well as husbandmen may have draught ^"mer- 6 ' '' 
cattle, and curriers and weavers fleeces and hides, still our chants, 
State will not be very large. 

That is true ; yet neither will it be a very small State which 
contains all these. 

Then, again, there is the situation of the city to find a place 
where nothing need be imported is wellnigh impossible. 


Then there must be another class of citizens who will bring 
the required supply from another city ? 

There must. 

371 But if the trader goes empty-handed, having nothing which 
they require who would supply his need, he will come back 

That is certain. 

And therefore what they produce at home must be not only 
enough for themselves, but such both in quantity and quality 
as to accommodate those from whom their wants are supplied. 

Very true. 

Then more husbandmen and more artisans will be required ? 

They will. 

Not to mention the importers and exporters, who are called 
merchants ? 


Then we shall want merchants ? 

We shall. 

And if merchandise is to be carried over the sea, skilful 
sailors will also be needed, and in considerable numbers ? 

Yes, in considerable numbers. 
; Then, again, within the city, how will they exchange their 


52 New wants and new classes. 

Republic productions ? To secure such an exchange was, as you will 
remember, one of our principal objects when we formed 

t ^ lem into a societ y an d constituted a State. 

Clearly they will buy and sell. 

Then they will need a market-place, and a money- token 
for purposes of exchange. 


The origin Suppose now that a husbandman, or an artisan, brings 
trade" 1 some production to market, and he comes at a time when 
there is no one to exchange with him, is he to leave his 
calling and sit idle in the market-place ? 

Not at all ; he will find people there who, seeing the want, 
undertake the office of salesmen. In well-ordered states they 
are commonly those who are the weakest in bodily strength, 
and therefore of little use for any other purpose ; their duty is 
to be in the market, and to give money in exchange for goods 
to those who desire to sell arid to take money from those 
who desire to buy. 

This want, then, creates a class of retail-traders in our 
State. Is not 'retailer* the term which is applied to those 
who sit in the market-place engaged in buying and selling, 
while those who wander from one city tq another are called 
merchants ? 

Yes, he said. 

And there is another class of servants, who are intellectually 
hardly on the level of companionship ; still they have plenty 
of bodily strength for labour, which accordingly they sell, and 
are called, if I do not mistake, hirelings, hire being the name 
which is given to the price of their labour. 


Then hirelings will help to make up our population ? 


And now, Adeimantus, is our State matured and perfected ? 

I think so. 

Where, then, is justice, and where is injustice, and in what 
part of the State did they spring up ? 

Probably in the dealings of these citizens with one another. 372 
I cannot imagine that they are more likely to be found 
any where else. 

I dare say that you are right in your suggestion, I said ; 

A city of pigs. 53 

we had better think the matter out, and not shrink from the Republic 

Let us then consider, first of all, what will be their way of SocRATES > 
life, now that we have thus established them. Will they not A p i cture 
produce corn, and wine, and clothes, and shoes, and build of primitive 
houses for themselves ? And when they are housed, they will llfe * 
work, in summer, commonly, stripped and barefoot, but in 
winter substantially clothed and shod. They will feed on 
barley-meal and flour of wheat, baking and kneading them, 
making noble cakes and loaves ; these they will serve up on 
a mat of reeds or on clean leaves, themselves reclining the 
while upon beds strewn with yew or myrtle And they and 
their children will feast, drinking of the wine which they have 
made, wearing garlands on their heads, and hymning the ' 
praises of the gods, in happy converse with one another. 
And they will take care that their families do not exceed their 
means ; having an eye to poverty or war. 

But, said Glaucon, interposing, you have not given them 
a relish to their meal. 

True, I replied, I had forgotten ; of course they must have 
a relish salt, and olives, and cheese, and they will boil roots 
and herbs such as country people prepare; for a dessert 
we shall give them figs, and peas, and beans; and they 
will roast myrtle- berries and acorns at the fire, drinking in 
moderation. And with such a diet they may be expected to 
live in peace and health to a good old age, and bequeath a 
similar life to their children after them. 

Yes, Socrates, he said, and if you were providing for a city 
of pigs, how else would you feed the beasts ? 

But what would you have, Glaucon ? I replied. 

Why, he said, you should give them the ordinary con- 
veniences of life. People who are to be comfortable are 
accustomed to lie on sofas, and dine off tables, and they should 
have sauces and sweets in the modern style. 

Yes, I said, now I understand : the question which you A luxurious 
would have me consider is, not only how a State, but how a State must 

* be called 

luxurious State is created ; and possibly there is no harm in into exist- 
this, for in such a State we shall be more likely to see ence - 
how justice and injustice originate. In my opinion the true 
and healthy constitution of the State is the one which I have 


Not a mere State but a luxurious State. 



and in this 
many new 
will be re- 

The terri- 
tory of our 
State must 
be en- 
larged; and 
hence will 
arise war 
between us 
and our 

described. But if you wish also to see a State at fever-heat, 
I have no objection. For I suspect that many will not be 
satisfied with the simpler way of life. They will be for adding 373 
sofas, and tables, and other furniture ; also dainties, and per- 
fumes, and incense, and courtesans, and cakes, all these not 
of one sort only, but in every variety ; we must go beyond the 
necessaries of which I was at first speaking, such as houses, 
and clothes, and shoes : the arts of the painter and the 
embroiderer will have to be set in motion, and gold and ivory 
and all sorts of materials must be procured. 

True, he said. 

Then we must enlarge our borders; for the original 
healthy State is no longer sufficient. Now will the city have 
to fill and swell with a multitude of callings which are not 
required by any natural want; such as the whole tribe of 
hunters and actors, of whom one large class have to do with 
forms and colours ; another will be the votaries of music 
poets and their attendant train of rhapsodists, players, dancers, 
contractors ; also makers of divers kinds of articles, including 
women's dresses. And we shall want more servants. Will 
not tutors be also in request, and nurses wet and dry, 
tirewomen and barbers, as well as confectioners and cooks ; 
and swineherds, too, who were not needed and therefore had 
no place in the former edition of our State, but are needed 
now ? They must not be forgotten : and there will be 
animals of many other kinds, if people eat them. 


And living in this way we shall have much greater need of 
physicians than before ? 

Much greater. 

And the country which was enough to support the original 
inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough ? 

Quite true. 

Then a slice of our neighbours' land will be wanted by us 
for pasture and tillage, and they will want a slice of ours, if, 
like ourselves, they exceed the limit of necessity, and give 
themselves up to the unlimited accumulation of wealth ? 

That, Socrates, will be inevitable. 

And so we shall go to war, Glaucon. Shall we not ? 

Most certainly, he replied. 

The origin of war. 55 

Then, without determining as yet whether war does good Republic 
or harm, . thus much we may affirm, that now we have dis- /7> 

covered war to be derived from causes which are also the 
causes of almost all the evils in States, private as well as 


And our State must once more enlarge ; and this time the 

enlargement will be nothing short of a whole army, which 

374 will have to go out and fight with the invaders for all that we 

have, as well as for the things and persons whom we were 

describing above. . ", 

Why ? he said ; are they not capable of defending them- 
selves ? 

No, I said ; not if we were right in the principle which War is an 
was acknowledged by all of us when we were framing the ^a^can* 
State : the principle, as you will remember, was that one be pursued 
man cannot practise many arts with success. wlth su , c " 

r cess unless 

Very true, he said. a man's 

But is not war an art ? whole at- 

^ . . tentionis 

Certainly. devoted to 

And an art requiring as much attention as shoemaking ? il a soldier 

^ . cannot be 

Quite true. allowed to 

And the shoemaker was not allowed by us to be a husband- exercise 
man, or a weaver, or a builder in order that we might have J^t wf" 1 ^ 
our shoes well made ; but to him and to every other worker own. 
was assigned one work for which he was by nature fitted, and 
at that he was to continue working all his life long and at no 
other; he was not to let opportunities slip, and then he 
would become a good workman. Now nothing can be more 
important than that the work of a soldier should be well 
done. But is war an art so easily acquired that a man may The war- 
be a warrior who is also a husbandman, or shoemaker, or requ^e^a 
other artisan ; although no one in the world would be a good long ap- 
dice or draught player who merely took up the game as a g^ nt ^ 
recreation, and had not from his earliest years devoted him- ma ny na- 
self to this and nothing else? No tools will make a man a turai gifts. 
skilled workman, or master of defence, nor be of any use to 
him who has not learned how to handle them, and has never 
bestowed any attention upon them. How then will he who 
takes up a shield or other implement of war become a good 

The soldier should be like a watch-dog, 



The selec- 
tion of 

fighter all in a day, whether with heavy-armed or any other 
kind of troops ? 

Yes, he said, the tools which would teach men their own 
use would be beyond price. 

And the higher the duties of the guardian, I said, the more 
time, and skill, and art, and application will be needed by him? 

No doubt, he replied. 

Will he not also require natural aptitude for his calling ? 


Then it will be our duty to select, if we can, natures which 
are fitted for the task of guarding the city ? 

It will 

And the selection will be no easy matter, I said ; but we 
must be brave and do our best. 

We must. 

Is not the noble youth very like a well-bred dog in respect 375 
of guarding and watching ? 

What do you mean ? 

I mean that both of them ought to be quick to see, and swift 
to overtake the enemy when they see him ; and strong too if, 
when they have caught him, they have to fight with him. 

All these qualities, he replied, will certainly be required by 

Well, and your guardian must be brave if he is to fight 


And is he likely to be brave who has no spirit, whether 
horse or dog or any other animal ? Have you never observed 
how invincible and unconquerable is spirit and how the pre- 
sence of it makes the soul of any creature to be absolutely 
fearless and indomitable ? 

I have. 

Then now we have a clear notion of the bodily qualities 
which are required in the guardian. 


And also of the mental ones; his soul is to be full of 
spirit ? 


But are not these spirited natures apt to be savage with 
one another, and with everybody else ? 

gentle to friends, and dangerous to enemies. 5 7 

A difficulty by no means easy to overcome, he replied. Republic 

Whereas, I said, they ought to be dangerous to their 

enemies, and gentle to their friends ; if not, they will de- 
stroy themselves without waiting for their enemies to destroy 

True, he said. 

What is to be done then ? I said ; how shall we find a 
gentle nature which has also a great spirit, for the one is the 
contradiction of the other ? 


He will not be a good guardian who is wanting in either of The guard- 

these two qualities ; and yet the combination of them appears lar ^ 
to be impossible ; and hence we must infer that to be a good opposite 
guardian is impossible. qualities of 

. . . gentleness 

I am afraid that what you say is true, he replied. and sp irit. 

Here feeling perplexed I began to think over what had 
preceded. My friend, I said, no wonder that we are in a 
perplexity ; for we have lost sight of the image which we had 
before us. 

What do you mean ? he said. 

I mean to say that there do exist natures gifted with those 
opposite qualities. 

And where do you find them ? 

Many animals, I replied, furnish examples of them ; our Such a 
friend the dog is a very good one : you know that well-bred o mT" 
dogs are perfectly gentle to their familiars and acquaintances, be observed 
and the reverse to strangers. in the d - 

Yes, I know. 

Then there is nothing impossible or out of the order of 
nature in our finding la guardian who has a similar combina- 
tion of qualities ? 

Certainly not. 

Would not he who is fitted to be a guardian, besides the 
spirited nature, need to have the qualities of a philosopher ? 

I do not apprehend your meaning. 

376 The trait of which I am speaking, I replied, may be also 
seen in the dog, and is remarkable in the animal. 

What trait ? 

Why, a dog, whenever he sees a stranger, is angry ; when Js t e in ^ g 
an acquaintance, he welcomes him, although the one has guishes 

The dog a philosopher. 



friend and 
enemy by 
the crite- 
rion of 
and not 
knowing : 

whereby he 
is shown 
to be a phi- 

How are 
our citi- 
zens to be 
reared and 

never done him any harm, nor the other any good. Did this 
never strike you as curious ? 

The matter never struck me before ; but I quite recognise 
the truth of your remark. 

And surely this instinct of the dog is very charming ; 
your dog is a true philosopher. 


Why, because he distinguishes the face of a friend and of 
an enemy only by the criterion of knowing and not knowing. 
And must not an animal be a lover of learning who deter- 
mines what he likes and dislikes by the test of knowledge 
and ignorance ? 

Most assuredly. 

And is not the love of learning the love of wisdom, which 
is philosophy ? 

They are the same, he replied. 

And may we not say confidently of man ,also, that he who 
is likely to be gentle to his friends and acquaintances, must 
by nature be a lover of wisdom and knowledge ? 

That we may safely affirm. 

Then he who ist to be a really good and noble guardian of 
the State will require to unite in himself philosophy and 
spirit and swiftness and strength ? 


Then we have found the desired natures; and now that 
we have found them, how are they to be reared and educated ? 
Is not this an enquiry which may be expected to throw light 
on the greater enquiry which is our final end How do 
justice and injustice grow up in States ? for we do not want 
either to omit what is to the point or to draw out the argu- 
ment to an inconvenient length. 

Adeimantus thought that the enquiry would be of great 
service to us. 

Then, I said, my dear friend, the task must not be given up, 
even if somewhat long. 

Certainly not. 

Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in story-telling, 
and our story shall be the education of our heroes. 

By all means. 

And what shall be their education ? Can we find a better 

Education of two kinds. 59 

than the traditional sort? and this has two divisions, Republic 
gymnastic for the body, and music for the soul. 



Shall we begin education with music, and go on to Education 

gymnastic afterwards ? divided 

By all means. j^f- 

And when you speak of music, do you include literature or the body 

not -p and music 

for the soul. 
I do. Music 

And literature may be either true or false ? ! ncludes 

J literature, 

V 63. which may 

377 And the young should be trained in both kinds, and we e true or 
begin with the false ? 

I do not understand your meaning, he said. 

You know, I said, that we begin by telling children stories 
which, though not wholly destitute of truth, are in the main 
fictitious ; and these stories are told them when they are not 
of an age to learn gymnastics. 

Very true. 

That was my meaning when I said that we must te"ach 
music before gymnastics. 

Quite right, he said. 

You know also that the beginning is the most important The begin- 
part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender JJJ"f t ^ 
thing; for that is the time at which the character is being portant 
formed and the desired impression is more readily taken. P art of 

,_ education. 

Quite true. 

And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any 
casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and 
to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the 
very opposite of those which we should wish them to have 
when they are grown up ? 

We cannot. 

Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the Works of 
writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of {^acld 
fiction which is good, and reject the bad ; and we will desire under a 
mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorised ones censorship- 
only. Let them fashion the mind with such tales, even more 
fondly than they mould the body with their hands; but 
most of those which are now in use must be discarded. 


Homer and Hesiod. 


Homer and 

bad lies, 
that is to 

say, they 

give false 

tionsof the 


which have 

minds of 

Of what tales are you speaking ? he said. 

You may find a model of the lesser in the greater, I said ; 
f r *key are necessarily of the same type, and there is the 
same spirit in both of them. 

Very likely, he replied ; but I do not as yet know what you 
would term the greater. 

Those, I said, which are narrated by Homer and Hesiod, 

EnC * the FeSt ^ the P Oets > wno nave ever been tne reat storv - 

tellers of mankind. 

g ut w hi cn stories do you mean, he said ; and what fault do 

. J 

you find with them ? 

A fault which is most serious, I said : the fault of telling a 

.. . .. ; 

* ie > an d, what is more, a bad he. 

But when is this fault committed ? 

Whenever an erroneous representation is made of the 
nature of gods and heroes, as when a painter paints a 
portrait not having the shadow of a likeness to the original. 

Yes, he said, that sort of thing is certainly very blameable ; 
but what are the stories which you mean ? 

First of all, I said, there was that greatest of all lies in high 
places, which the poet told about Uranus, and which was a 
bad lie too, I mean what Hesiod says that Uranus did, and 
how Cronus retaliated on him \ The doings of Cronus, and 378 
the sufferings which in turn his son inflicted upon him, even if 
they were true, ought certainly not to be lightly told to young 
and thoughtless persons ; if possible, they had better be 
buried in silence. But if there is an absolute necessity for 
their mention, a chosen few might hear them in a mystery, 
and they should sacrifice not a common [Eleusinian] pig, but 
some huge and unprocurable victim ; and then the number of 
the hearers will be very few indeed. 

Why, yes, said he, those stories are, extremely objectionable. 

Yes, Adeimantus, they are stories not to be repeated in our 
State ; the young man should not be told that in committing 
the worst of crimes he is far from doing anything outrageous ; 
an( j jj^ even if h e chastises his father when he does wrong, 
in whatever manner, he will only be following the example of 
the first and greatest among the gods. 

1 Hesiod, Theogony, 154, 459. 

The immoralities of mythology. 61 

I entirely agree with you, he said; in my opinion those Republic 
stories are quite unfit to be repeated. n ' 

Neither, if we mean our future guardians to regard the habit ^ ES ^ 
of quarrelling among themselves as of all things the basest, T! j B1|0f | Bt 
should any word be said to them of the wars in heaven, and of about the 
the plots and fightings of the gods against one another, for q uarrels of 
they are not true. No, we shall never mention the battles of aiuHheir 
the giants, or let them be embroidered on garments ; and we evil be- 
shall be silent about the innumerable other quarrels of gods t^one* 
and heroes with their friends and relatives. If they would another 
only believe us we would tell them that quarrelling is unholy, areuntrue - 
and that never up to this time has there been any quarrel 
between citizens ; this is what old men and old women should 
begin by telling children ; and when they grow up, the poets 
also should be told to compose for them in a similar spirit *. 
But the narrative of Hephaestus binding Here his mother, 
or how on another occasion Zeus sent him flying for taking 
her part when she was being beaten, and all the battles of the 
gods in Homer these tales must not be admitted into our Andaile- 
State, whether they are supposed to have an allegorical f^ 03 ^ 
meaning or not. For a young person cannot judge what is tions of 
allegorical and what is literal ; anything that he receives into them are 
his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalter- stood by 
able ; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the yo un s- 
the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts. 

There you are right, he replied ; but if any one asks where 
are such models to be found and of what tales are you 
speaking how shall we answer him ? 

379 I said to him, You and I, Adeimantus, at this moment are 
not poets, but founders of a State : now the founders of 
a State ought to know the general forms in which poets 
should cast their tales, and the limits which must be observed 
by them, but to make the tales is not their business. 

Very true, he said ; but what are these forms of theology 
which you mean ? 

Something of this kind, I replied: God is always to be God is to be 
represented as he truly is, whatever be the sort of poetry, 
epic, lyric or tragic, in which the representation is given. is, 


1 Placing the comma after ypavvt, and not a 

62 The greater forms of theology : 

Republic And is he not truly good ? and must he not be represented 

7/ - as such ? 
SOCRATES, Certainly. 


And no good thing is hurtful ? 

No, indeed. 

And that which is not hurtful hurts not ? 

Certainly not. 

And that which hurts not does no evil ? 


And can that which does no evil be a cause of evil ? 


And the good is advantageous ? 


And therefore the cause of well-being ? 


It follows therefore that the good is not the cause of 
all things, but of the good only ? 


God, if he Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as 

the S author S tne manv assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and 

of good not of most things that occur to men. For few are the goods 

only ' of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be 

attributed to God alone ; of the evils the causes are to be 

sought elsewhere, and not in him. 

That appears to me to be most true, he said. 

The fie- Then we must not listen to Homer or to any other poet who 

is guilty of the folly of saying that two casks 

'Lie at the threshold of Zeus, full of lots, one of good, the other 
of evil lots V 
and that he to whom Zeus gives a mixture of the two 

' Sometimes meets with evil fortune, at other times with good ; ' 
but that he to whom is given the cup of unmingled ill, 
' Him wild hunger drives o'er the beauteous earth.' 
And again 

* Zeus, who is the dispenser of good and evil to us.' 
And if any one asserts that the violation of oaths and treaties, 

1 Iliad xxiv. 527. 

I. God is good and the author of good: 2. God is true. 63 

which was really the work of Pandarus \ was brought about Republic 
by Athene and Zeus, or that the strife and contention of the IL 
gods was instigated by Themis and Zeus 2 , he shall not have 
our approval ; neither will we allow our young men to hear 
the words of Aeschylus, that 

380 God plants guilt among men when he desires utterly to destroy 
a house.' 

And if a poet writes of the sufferings of Niobe the subject 
of the tragedy in which these iambic verses occur or 
of the house of Pelops, or of the Trojan war or on any 
similar theme, either we must not permit him to say that 
these are the works of God, or if they are of God, he must 
devise some explanation of them such as we are seeking : he Only that 
must say that God did what was just and right, and they f s v |J f ^ Ch 
were the better for being punished ; but that those who are nature of 
punished are miserable, and that God is the author of their P unish ~ 

ment to be 

misery the poet is not to be permitted to say; though he attributed 
may say that the wicked are miserable because they require to God - 
to be punished, and are benefited by receiving punishment 
from God ; but that God being good is the author of evil to 
any one is to be strenuously denied, and not to be said or 
sung or heard in verse or prose by any one whether old or 
young in any well-ordered commonwealth. Such a fiction is 
suicidal, ruinous, impious. 

I agree with you, he replied, and am ready to give my 
assent to the law. 

Let this then be one of our rules and principles concerning 
the gods, to which our poets and reciters will be expected to 
conform, that God is not the author of all things, but of 
good only. 

That will do, he said. 

And what do you think of a second principle ? Shall I ask 
you whether God is a magician, and of a nature to appear 
insidiously now in one shape, and now in another some- 
times himself changing and passing into many forms, some- 
times deceiving us with the semblance of such transforma- 
tions ; or is he one and the same immutably fixed in his own 
proper image ? 

1 Iliad ii. 69. Ib. xx. 

The Divine nature incapable of change. 




must be 
either by 
another or 
by them- 

But God 
cannot be 
changed by 
other; and 
will not be 
changed by 

I cannot answer you, he said, without more thought. 

Well, I said ; but if we suppose a change in anything, that 
change must be effected either by the thing itself, or by some 
other thing ? 

Most certainly. 

And things which are at their best are also least liable to 
be altered or discomposed ; for example, when healthiest and 
strongest, the human frame is least liable to be affected by 
meats and drinks, and the plant which is in the fullest vigour 
also suffers least from winds or the heat of the sun or any 
similar causes. 

Of course. 

And will not the bravest and wisest soul be least confused 381 
or deranged by any external influence ? 


And the same principle, as I should suppose, applies to 
all composite things furniture, houses, garments: when 
good and well made, they are least altered by time and 

Very true. 

Then everything which is good, whether made by art or 
nature, or both, is least liable to suffer change from without ? 


But surely God and the things of God are in every way 
perfect ? 

Of course they are. 

Then he can hardly be compelled by external influence to 
take many shapes ? 

He cannot. 

But may he not change and transform himself? 

Clearly, he said, that must be the case if he is changed 
at all. 

And will he then change himself for the better and fairer, 
or for the worse and more unsightly ? 

If he change at all he can only change for the worse, for we 
cannot suppose him to be deficient either in virtue or beauty. 

Very true, Adeimantus ; but then, would any one, whether 
God or man, desire to make himself worse ? 


Then it is impossible that God should ever be willing to 

The falsehoods of the poets. 65 

change ; being, as is supposed, the fairest and best that is Republic 
conceivable, every God remains absolutely and for ever in 

his OWn form. SOCRATES, 


That necessarily follows, he said, in my judgment. 
Then, I said, my dear friend, let none of the poets tell us 

' The gods, taking the disguise of strangers from other lands, 
walk up and down cities in all sorts of forms * ; ' 

and let no one slander Proteus and Thetis, neither let any 
one, either in tragedy or in any other kind of poetry, in- 
troduce Here disguised in the likeness of a priestess asking 
an alms 

' For the life-giving daughters of Inachus the river of Argos ; ' 

let us have no more lies of that sort. Neither must we 
have mothers under the influence of the poets scaring 
their children with a bad version of these myths telling 
how certain gods, as they say, 'Go about by night in 
the likeness of so many strangers and in divers forms;* 
but let them take heed lest they make cowards of their 
children, and at the same time speak blasphemy against 
the gods. 

Heaven forbid, he said. 

But although the gods are themselves unchangeable, still 
by witchcraft and deception they may make us think that 
they appear in various forms ? 

Perhaps, he replied. 

Well, but can you imagine that God will be willing to lie, Nor will he 
whether in word or deed, or to put forth a phantom of ^ e r ^_ 

himself? sentation 

382 I cannot say, he replied. of himself. 

Do you not know, I said, that the true lie, if such an 
expression may be allowed, is hated of gods and men ? 

What do you mean ? he said. 

I mean that no one is willingly deceived in that which is 
the truest and highest part of himself, or about the truest 
and highest matters ; there, above all, he is most afraid of a 
lie having possession of him. 

1 Horn. Od. xvii. 485. 


The lie in the soul. 



The true 
lie is 
hated both 
by gods 
and men ; 
the re- 
medial or 
lie is com- 
but God 
can have 
no need 
of it. 

Still, he said, I do not comprehend you. 

The reason is, I replied, that you attribute some profound 
meaning to my words ; but I am only saying that deception, 
or being deceived or uninformed about the highest realities in 
the highest part of themselves, which is the soul, and in that 
part of them to have and to hold the lie, is what mankind 
least like ; that, I say, is what they utterly detest. 

There is nothing more hateful to them. 

And, as I was just now remarking, this ignorance in the 
soul of him who is deceived may be called the true lie ; for 
the lie in words is only a kind of imitation and shadowy 
image of a previous affection of the soul, not pure unadul- 
terated falsehood. Am I not right ? 

Perfectly right. 

The true lie is hated not only by the gods, but also by 


Whereas the lie in words is in certain cases useful and not 
hateful ; in dealing with enemies that would be an instance ; 
or again, when those whom we call our friends in a fit of 
madness or illusion are going to do some harm, then it is 
useful and is a sort of medicine or preventive ; also in the 
tales of mythology, of which we were just now speaking 
because we do not know the truth about ancient times, we 
make falsehood as much like truth as we can, and so turn 
it to account. 

Very true, he said. 

But can any of these reasons apply to God? Can we 
suppose that he is ignorant of antiquity, and therefore has 
recourse to invention ? 

That would be ridiculous, he said. 

Then the lying poet has no place in our idea of God ? 

I should say not. 

Or perhaps he may tell a lie because he is afraid of 
enemies ? 

That is inconceivable. 

But he may have friends who are senseless or mad ? 

But no mad or senseless person can be a friend of God. 

Then no motive can be imagined why God should lie ? 

None whatever. 

God is truth. 67 

Then the superhuman and divine is absolutely incapable of Republic 
falsehood? 7/ * 


Then is God perfectly simple and true both in word and* 
deed * ; he changes not ; he deceives not, either by sign or 
word, by dream or waking vision. 
383 Your thoughts, he said, are the reflection of my own. 

You agree with me then, I said, that this is the second 
type or form in which we should write and speak about divine 
things. The gods are not magicians who transform them- 
selves, neither do they deceive mankind in any way. 

I grant that. 

Then, although we are admirers of Homer, we do not Away then 
admire the lying dream which Zeus sends to Agamemnon ; 
neither will we praise the verses of Aeschylus in which O fthe 
Thetis says that Apollo at her nuptials 

* Was celebrating in song her fair progeny whose days were to 
be long, and to know no sickness. And when he had spoken of 
my lot as in all things blessed of heaven he raised a note of 
triumph and cheered my soul. And I thought that the word of 
Phoebus, being divine and full of prophecy, would not fail. And 
now he himself who uttered the strain, he who was present at the 
banquet, and who said this he it is who has slain my son V 

These are the kind of sentiments about the gods which 
will arouse our anger; and he who utters them shall be 
refused a chorus ; neither shall we allow teachers to make 
use of them in the instruction of the young, meaning, as we 
do, that our guardians, as far as men can be, should be true 
worshippers of the gods and like them. 

I entirely agree, he said, in these principles, and promise 
to make them my laws. 

1 Omitting /cora Qavravias. 2 From a lost play. 

F 2 




lessons of 

The de- 


below in 

SUCH then, I said, are our principles of theology some steph. 
tales are to be told, and others are not to be told to our 386 
disciples from their youth upwards, if we mean them to 
honour fa G g O( j s anc j ^eir parents, and to value friendship 
with one another. 

Yes ; and I think that our principles are right, he said. 

g ut ^ ^ G y are to be courageous, must they not learn other 
lessons besides these, and lessons of such a kind as will take 
away the fear of death ? Can any man be courageous who 
has the fear of death in him ? 

Certainly not, he said. 

And can he be fearless of death, or will he choose death in 
battle rather than defeat and slavery, who believes the world 
below to be real and terrible ? 


Then we must assume a control over the narrators of this 

C ^ aSS ^ ta ^ CS ES WC ^ &S VGT ^ ot h ers > anc * ^ e S t ^ iem not 

simply to revile, but rather to commend the world below, 
intimating to them that their descriptions are untrue, and 
will do harm to our future warriors. 

That will be our duty, he said. 

Then, I said, we shall have to obliterate many obnoxious 
passages, beginning with the verses, 

* I would rather be a serf on the land of a poor and portionless 
man than rule over all the dead who have come to nought V 

We must also expunge the verse, which tells us how Pluto 

' Lest the mansions grim and squalid which the gods abhor 
should be seen both of mortals and immortals V 

1 Od. xi. 489. 

a II. xx. 64. 

The teaching of the poets about Hades. 69 

And again : Republic 

' O heavens ! verily in the house of Hades there is soul and 
ghostly form but no mind at all 1 ! ' SOCRATES, 


Again of Tiresias : 

1 [To him even after death did Persephone grant mind,] that he 
alone should be wise ; but the other souls are flitting shades V 

Again : 

' The soul flying from the limbs had gone to Hades, lamenting 
her fate, leaving manhood and youth V 

Again : 

387 'And the soul, with shrilling cry, passed like smoke beneath the 
earth V 


'As bats in hollow of mystic cavern, whenever any of them has 
dropped out of the string and falls from the rock, fly shrilling 
and cling to one another, so did they with shrilling cry hold together 
as they moved V 

And we must beg Homer and the other poets not to be Such tales 
angry if we strike out these and similar passages, not because 
they are unpoetical, or unattractive to the popular ear, but 
because the greater the poetical charm of them, the less are 
they meet for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be 
free, and who should fear slavery more than death. 


Also we shall have to reject all the terrible and appalling 
names which describe the world below Cocytus and Styx, 
ghosts under the earth, and sapless shades, and any similar 
words of which the very mention causes a shudder to pass 
through the inmost soul of him who hears them. I do not 
say that these horrible stories may not have a use of some 
kind ; but there is a danger that the nerves of our guardians 
may be rendered too excitable and effeminate by them. 

There is a real danger, he said. 

Then we must have no more of them. 


Another and a nobler strain must be composed and sung 
by us. 

1 II. xxiii. 103. 2 Od. x. 495. 3 II. xvi. 856. 

4 Ib. xxiii. 100. 5 Od. xxiv. 6. 

70 The reform of Mythology. 

Republic Clearly. 

And shall we proceed to get rid of the weepings and wail- 
SOCRATES, f famous men ? 


The eife- They will go with the rest. 

minate and But shall we be right in getting rid of them ? Reflect : our 

strains of principle is that the good man will not consider death terrible 

famous to any other good man who is his comrade. 

^etmoreof YeS '> that ls Ur P rind P le - 

the gods, And therefore he will not sorrow for his departed friend as 
tetarish thou g h he had suffered anything terrible ? 
ed. He will not. 

Such an one, as we further maintain, is sufficient for him- 
self and his own happiness, and therefore is least in need of 
other men. 
True, he said. 

And for this reason the loss of a son or brother, or the 
deprivation of fortune, is to him of all men least terrible. 

And therefore he will be least likely to lament, and will 
bear with the greatest equanimity any misfortune of this sort 
which may befall him. 

Yes, he will feel such a misfortune far less than another. 
Then we shall be right in getting rid of the lamentations 
of famous men, and making them over to women (and not 
even to women who are good for anything), or to men of a 388 
baser sort, that those who are being educated by us to be the 
defenders of their country may scorn to do the like. 

That will be very right. 

Such are Then we will once more entreat Homer and the other 

rt*AcSs P oets not to depict Achilles 1 , who is the son of a goddess, 

and Priam,' first lying on his side, then on his back, and then on his face ; 

then starting up and sailing in a frenzy along the shores of 

the barren sea ; now taking the sooty ashes in both his 

hands 2 and pouring them over his head, or weeping and 

wailing in the various modes which Homer has delineated. 

Nor should he describe Priam the kinsman of the gods as 

praying and beseeching, 

* Rolling in the dirt, calling each man loudly by his name 3 .' 
1 II. xxiv. 10. 2 Ib. xviii. 23. 3 Ib. xxii. 414. 

The gods weeping and laughing. 71 

Still more earnestly will we beg of him at all events not to Republic 
introduce the gods lamenting and saying, 

' Alas ! my misery ! Alas ! that I bore the bravest to my sorrow V AD?IMANTUS. 
But if he must introduce the gods, at any rate let him not andofZeus 
dare so completely to misrepresent the greatest of the gods, ^ehddT 
as to make him say the fate of 

* O heavens ! with my eyes verily I behold a dear friend of mine sarpedon 
chased round and round the city, and my heart is sorrowful V 

Or again : 

* Woe is me that I am fated to have Sarpedon, dearest of men to 
me, subdued at the hands of Patroclus the son of Menoetius V 

For if, my sweet Adeimantus, our youth seriously listen to 
such unworthy representations of the gods, instead of laugh- 
ing at them as they ought, hardly will any of them deem that 
he himself, being but a man, can be dishonoured by similar 
actions ; neither will he rebuke any inclination which may 
arise in his mind to say and do the like. And instead of 
having any shame or self-control, he will be always whining 
and lamenting on slight occasions. 

Yes, he said, that is most true. 

Yes, I replied ; but that surely is what ought not to be, as 
the argument has just proved to us; and by that proof we 
must abide until it is disproved by a better. 

It ought not to be. 

Neither ought our guardians to be given to laughter. For Neither are 
a fit of laughter which has been indulged to excess almost J^t-cTce" 
always produces a violent reaction. encouraged 

So I believe. ,* 

Then persons of worth, even if only mortal men, must not pie of the 

be represented as overcome by laughter, and still less must 

such a representation of the gods be allowed. 
389 Still less of the gods, as you say, he replied. 

Then we shall not suffer such an expression to be used 

about the gods as that of Homer when he describes how 

' Inextinguishable laughter arose among the blessed gods, when 
they saw Hephaestus bustling about the mansion V 

On your views, we must not admit them. 
1 II. xviii. 54. 2 Ib. xxii. 168. 8 Ib. xvi. 433. 4 Ib. i. 599. 

The privilege of lying confined to the rulers. 



Our youth 
must be 

and also 

On my views, if you like to father them on me ; that we 
must not admit them is certain. 

Again, truth should be highly valued ; if, as we were say- 
ing, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine 
to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted 
to physicians ; private individuals have no business with 

Clearly not, he said. 

Then if any one at all is to have the privilege of lying, the 
rulers of the State should be the persons ; and they, in their 
dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, may be 
allowed to lie for the public good. But nobody else should 
meddle with anything of the kind ; and although the rulers 
have this privilege, for a private man to lie to them in return 
is to be deemed a more heinous fault than for the patient or 
the pupil of a gymnasium not to speak the truth about his 
own bodily illnesses to the physician or to the trainer, or for 
a sailor not to tell the captain what is happening about the 
ship and the rest of the crew, and how things are going with 
himself or his fellow sailors. 

Most true, he said. 

If, then, the ruler catches anybody beside himself lying in 
the State, 

* Any of the craftsmen, whether he be priest or physician or 
carpenter V 

he will punish him for introducing a practice which is equally 
subversive and destructive of ship or State. 

Most certainly, he said, if our idea of the State is ever 
carried out 2 . 

In the next place our youth must be temperate ? 


Are not the chief elements of temperance, speaking gener- 
ally, obedience to commanders and self-control in sensual 
pleasures ? 


Then we shall approve such language as that of Diomede 
in Homer, 

* Friend, sit still and obey my word V 

1 Od. xvii. 383 sq. 8 Or, 'if his words are accompanied by actions.' 3 II. iv. 41 2. 

Some ignoble verses; also a better strain heard. 73 

and the verses which follow, Republic 


' The Greeks marched breathing prowess \ CRATES 

. . . . in silent awe of their leaders 2 ,' ADEIMANTUS. 

and other sentiments of the same kind. 
We shall. 
What of this line, 

* O heavy with wine, who hast the eyes of a dog and the heart of 
a stag 3 ,' 

390 and of the words which follow ? Would you say that these, 
or any similar impertinences which private individuals are 
supposed to address to their rulers, whether in verse or 
prose, are well or ill spoken ? 

They are ill spoken. 

They may very possibly afford some amusement, but they 
do not conduce to temperance. And therefore they are 
likely to do harm to our young men you would agree with 
me there ? 


And then, again, to make the wisest of men say that nothing The praises 
in his opinion is more glorious than of eating 

and dnnk- 
' When the tables are full of bread and meat, and the cup-bearer in and the 

carries round wine which he draws from the bowl and pours into J 

r improper 

the cups 4 ;' behaviour 

. . ,, . r of Zeus and 

is it fit or conducive to temperance for a young man to hear Here, are 
such words ? Or the verse not to be 

repeated to 
4 The saddest of fates is to die and meet destiny from hunger 5 ' ? the young. 

What would you say again to the tale of Zeus, who, while 
other gods and men were asleep and he the only person 
awake, lay devising plans, but forgot them all in a moment ' 
through his lust, and was so completely overcome at the 
sight of Here that he would not even go into the hut, but 
wanted to lie with her on the ground, declaring that he had 
never been in such a state of rapture before, even when they 
first met one another 

' Without the knowledge of their parents 6 ; ' 

1 Od. iii. 8. 2 Ib. iv. 431. 3 Ib. i. 225. 

4 Ib. ix. 8. 5 Ib. xii. 342. II. xiv. 281. 

74 Bribery, insolence, lust, and other vices 

Republic or that other tale of how Hephaestus, because of similar 
goings on, cast a chain around Ares and Aphrodite * ? 

Indeed, he said, I am strongly of opinion that they ought 

The inde- nOt to near tnat Sort ^ thing. 

cent tale of But any deeds of endurance which are done or told by 
Aphrodite ^ amous men > these they ought to see and hear; as, for 
The oppo- example, what is said in the verses, 

ofenduf 1 * He smote his breast, and thus reproached his heart, 

ranee. Endure, my heart; far worse hast thou endured 2 !' 

Certainly, he said. 

In the next place, we must not let them be receivers of gifts 
or lovers of money. 
Certainly not. 
Neither must we sing to them of 

'Gifts persuading gods, and persuading reverend kings 3 .' 

Condemna- Neither is Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, to be approved or 

Achilles deemed to have given his pupil good counsel when he told 

and Phoe- him that he should take the gifts of the Greeks and assist 

them 4 ; but that without a gift he should not lay aside his 

anger. Neither will we believe or acknowledge Achilles 

himself to have been such a lover of money that he took 

Agamemnon's gifts, or that when he had received payment 

he restored the dead body of Hector, but that without 

payment he was unwilling to do so 5 . 

Undoubtedly, he said, these are not sentiments which can 391 
be approved. 

Loving Homer as I do 6 , I hardly like to say that in 
attributing these feelings to Achilles, or in believing that 
they are truly attributed to him, he is guilty of downright 
impiety. As little can I believe the narrative of his insolence 
to Apollo, where he says, 

'Thou hast wronged me, O far-darter, most abominable of 
deities. Verily I would be even with thee, if I had only the 
power 7 ; ' 

or his insubordination to the river-god 8 , on whose divinity 
he is ready to lay hands ; or his offering to the dead Patroclus 

1 Od. viii. 266. 2 Ib. xx. 17. 

3 Quoted by Suidas as attributed to Hesiod. 4 II. ix. 515. 5 Ib. xxiv. 175. 
6 Cf. infra, x. 595. 7 H. xxii. 15 sq. 8 Ib. xxi. 130, 223 sq. 

should have no place among the gods. 


of his own hair \ which had been previously dedicated to the 
other river-god Spercheius, and that he actually performed 
this vow ; or that he dragged Hector round the tomb of 
Patroclus 2 , and slaughtered the captives at the pyre 3 ; of all 
this I cannot believe that he was guilty, any more than I can 
allow our citizens to believe that he, the wise Cheiron's 
pupil, the son of a goddess and of Peleus who was the 
gentlest of men and third in descent from Zeus, was so dis- 
ordered in his wits as to be at one time the slave of two 
seemingly inconsistent passions, meanness, not untainted 
by avarice, combined with overweening contempt of gods 
and men. 

You are quite right, he replied. 

And let us equally refuse to believe, or allow to be re- 
peated, the tale of Theseus son of Poseidon, or of Peirithous 
son of Zeus, going forth as they did to perpetrate a horrid 
rape; or of any other hero or son of a god daring to do such 
impious and dreadful things as they falsely ascribe to them in 
our day : and let us further compel the poets to declare either 
that these acts were not done by them, or that they were not 
the sons of gods ; both in the same breath they shall not 
be permitted to affirm. We will not have them trying to 
persuade our youth that the gods are the authors of evil, and 
that heroes are no better than men sentiments which, as we 
were saying, are neither pious nor true, for we have already 
proved that evil cannot come from the gods. 

Assuredly not. 

And further they are likely to have a bad effect on those 
who hear them ; for everybody will begin to excuse his own 
vices when he is convinced that similar wickednesses are 
always being perpetrated by 

' The kindred of the gods, the relatives of Zeus, whose ancestral 
altar, the altar of Zeus, is aloft in air on the peak of Ida,' 

and who have 

' the blood of deities yet flowing in their veins V 

And therefore let us put an end to such tales, lest they 
392 engender laxity of morals among the young. 

1 II. xxiii. 151. 2 Ib. xxii. 394. 3 Ib. xxiii. 175. 

* From the Niobe of Aeschylus. 



The im- 
pious be- 
haviour of 
Achilles to 
Apollo and 
the river- 
gods ; his 

The tale of 
and Peiri- 

The bad 
effect of 
these my- 
tales upon 
the young. 

76 The styles of poetry. 

Republic By all means, he replied. 

But now that we are determining what classes of subjects 

AOTMANTUS **^ or are not to ^ e s P oken of let us see whether any have 
been omitted by us. The manner in which gods and demigods 
and heroes and the world below should be treated has been 
already laid down. 

Very true. 

Misstate- And what shall we say about men? That is clearly the 
th^oets remaining portion of our subject. 
about men. Clearly so. 

But we are not in a condition to answer this question 
at present, my friend. 

Why not ? 

Because, if I am not mistaken, we shall have to say that 
about men poets and story-tellers are guilty of making the 
gravest misstatements when they tell us that wicked men are 
often happy, and the good miserable; and that injustice is 
profitable when undetected, but that justice is a man's 
own loss and another's gain these things we shall forbid 
them to utter, and command them to sing and say the 

To be sure we shall, he replied. 

But if you admit that I am right in this, then I shall 
maintain that you have implied the principle for which we 
have been all along contending. 

I grant the truth of your inference. 

That such things are or are not to be said about men is a 
question which we cannot determine until we have discovered 
what justice is, and how naturally advantageous to the 
possessor, whether he seem to be just or not. 

Most true, he said. 

Enough of the subjects of poetry : let us now speak of the 
style; and when this has been considered, both matter and 
manner will have been completely treated. 

I do not understand what you mean, said Adeimantus. 

Then I must make you understand ; and perhaps I may be 
more intelligible if I put the matter in this way. You are 
aware, I suppose, that all mythology and poetry is a narration 
of events, either past, present, or to come ? 

Certainly, he replied. 

Difference between Epic and Dramatic poetry. 77 

And narration may be either simple narration, or imitation, Republic 
or a union of the two ? 

That again, he said, I do not quite understand. 

I fear that I must be a ridiculous teacher when I have Anal sisof 
so much difficulty in making myself apprehended. Like a bad the drama- 
speaker, therefore, I will not take the whole of the subject, Jj^ 16 3111 
but will break a piece off in illustration of my meaning. You poetry, 
know the first lines of the Iliad, in which the poet says that 
393 Chryses prayed Agamemnon to release his daughter, and 
that Agamemnon flew into a passion with him ; whereupon 
Chryses, failing of his object, invoked the anger of the God 
against the Achaeans. Now as far as these lines, 

'And he prayed all the Greeks, but especially the two sons 
of Atreus, the chiefs of the people,' 

the poet is speaking in his own person ; he never leads us to 
suppose that he is any one else. But in what follows he 
takes the person of Chryses, and then he does all that he can 
to make us believe that the speaker is not Homer, but the 
aged priest himself. And in this double form he has cast the 
entire narrative of the events which occurred at Troy and in 
Ithaca and throughout the Odyssey. 


And a narrative it remains both in the speeches which the 
poet recites from time to time and in the intermediate 
passages ? 

Quite true. 

But when the poet speaks in the person of another, may we Epic poetry 
not say that he assimilates his style to that of the person who, hasan <;ie- 

, T . . to mentof 

as he informs you, is going to speak ? imitation 

Certainly. in the 

And this assimiliation of himself to another, either by theTesUs 

the use of voice or gesture, is the imitation of the person simple nar- 

whose character he assumes ? 
Of course. 
Then in this case the narrative of the poet may be said 

to proceed by way of imitation ? 
Very true. 
Or, if the poet everywhere appears and never conceals 

himself, then again the imitation is dropped, and his poetry 

becomes simple narration. However, in order that I may S 

The imitative art. 



and Come- 
dy are 
imitative ; 
bic and 

other kinds 
of poetry 
are devoid 
of imita- 
tion. Epic 
poetry is a 
tion of the 

make my meaning quite clear, and that you may no more say, 
' I don't understand/ I will show how the change might 
be effected. If Homer had said, ' The priest came, having his 
daughter's ransom in his hands, supplicating the Achaeans, 
and above all the kings ; ' and then if, instead of speaking in 
the person of Chryses, he had continued in his own person, 
the words would have been, not imitation, but simple narration. 
The passage would have run as follows (I am no poet, and 
therefore I drop the metre), ' The priest came and prayed the 
gods on behalf of the Greeks that they might capture Troy 
and return safely home, but begged that they would give him 
back his daughter, and take the ransom which he brought, 
and respect the God. Thus he spoke, and the other Greeks 
revered the priest and assented. But Agamemnon was 
wroth, and bade him depart and not come again, lest the staff 
and chaplets of the God should be of no avail to him the 
daughter of Chryses should not be released, he said she 
should grow old with him in Argos. And then he told 
him to go away and not to provoke him, if he intended 
to get home unscathed. And the old man went away in 
fear and silence, and, when he had left the camp, he 394 
called upon Apollo by his many names, reminding him 
of everything which he had done pleasing to him, whether in 
building his temples, or in offering sacrifice, and praying that 
his good deeds might be returned to him, and that the 
Achaeans might expiate his tears by the arrows of the god/ 
and so on. In this way the whole becomes simple narrative. 

I understand, he said. 

Or you may suppose the opposite case that the inter- 
mediate passages are omitted, and the dialogue only left. 

That also, he said, I understand ; you mean, for example, 
as in tragedy. 

You have conceived my meaning perfectly ; and if I mistake 
not, what you failed to apprehend before is now made clear to 
you, that poetry and mythology are, in some cases, wholly 
imitative instances of this are supplied by tragedy and 
comedy; there is likewise the opposite style, in which the 
poet is the only speaker of this the dithyramb affords the best 
example ; and the combination of both is found in epic, and 
in several other styles of poetry. Do I take you with me ? 

The feebleness of imitators. 


Yes, he said ; I see now what you meant. 
I will ask you to remember also what I began by saying, 
that we had done with the subject and might proceed to 


the style. 

Yes, I remember. 

In saying this, I intended to imply that we must come to an 
understanding about the mimetic art, whether the poets, 
in narrating their stories, are to be allowed by us to imitate, 
and if so, whether in whole or in part, and if the latter, in 
what parts ; or should all imitation be prohibited ? 

You mean, I suspect, to ask whether tragedy and comedy 
shall be admitted into our State ? 

Yes, I said ; but there may be more than this in question : 
I really do not know as yet, but whither the argument may 
blow, thither we go. 

And go we will, he said. 

Then, Adeimantus, let me ask you whether our guardians 
ought to be imitators ; or rather, has not this question been 
decided by the rule already laid down that one man can only 
do one thing well, and not many; and that if he attempt 
many, he will altogether fail of gaining much reputation 
in any? 


And this is equally true of imitation; no one man can 
imitate many things as well as he would imitate a single one ? 

He cannot. 

395 Then the same person will hardly be able to play a serious 
part in life, and at the same time to be an imitator and imitate 
many other parts as well; for even when two species of 
imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed 
in both, as, for example, the writers of tragedy and comedy 
did you not just now call them imitations ? 

Yes, I did ; and you are right in thinking that the same 
persons cannot succeed in both. 

Any more than they can be rhapsodists and actors at once ? 


Neither are comic and tragic actors the same ; yet all these 
things are but imitations. 

They are so. 

And human nature, Adeimantus, appears to have been 


ni ' 



A hint 

(cp. infra, 
bk - x> ) 
Our guard- 


only do one 
thing well; 




he cannot 
even imi- 
tate many 

which are 
of the de- 

One man should not play many parts. 

coined into yet smaller pieces, and to be as incapable of 
imitating many things well, as of performing well the actions 
of which the imitations are copies. 

Quite true, he replied. 

If then we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind 
that our guardians, setting aside every other business, are to 
dedicate themselves wholly to the maintenance of freedom in 
the State, making this their craft, and engaging in no work 
which does not bear on this end, they ought not to practise 
or imitate anything else ; if they imitate at all, they should 
imitate from youth upward only those characters which 
are suitable to their profession the courageous, temperate, 
holy, free, and the like; but they should not depict or be 
skilful at imitating any kind of illiberality or baseness, lest 
from imitation they should come to be what they imitate. 
Did you never observe how imitations, beginning in early 
youth and continuing far into life, at length grow into habits 
and become a second nature, affecting body, voice, and 

Yes, certainly, he said. 

Then, I said, we will not allow those for whom we profess 
a care and of whom we say that they ought to be good men, 
to imitate a woman, whether young or old, quarrelling with 
her husband, or striving and vaunting against the gods in 
conceit of her happiness, or when she is in affliction, or 
sorrow, or weeping; and certainly not one who is in sick- 
ness, love, or labour. 

Very right, he said. 

Neither must they represent slaves, male or female, per- 
forming the offices of slaves ? 

They must not. 

And surely not bad men, whether cowards or any others, 
who do the reverse of what we have just been prescribing, 
who scold or mock or revile one another in drink or out of 
drink, or who in any other manner sin against themselves 
and their neighbours in word or deed, as the manner of such 
is. Neither should they be trained to imitate the action or 396 
speech of men or women who are mad or bad ; for madness, 
like vice, is to be known but not to be practised or imitated. 

Very true, he replied. 

The good man will not act a part unworthy of him. 8 1 

^Neither may they imitate smiths or other artificers, or Republic 
oarsmen, or boatswains, or the like ? 

How can they, he said, when they are not allowed to apply 
their minds to the callings of any of these ? 

Nor may they imitate the neighing of horses, the bellowing 
of bulls, the murmur of rivers and roll of the ocean, thunder, 
and all that sort of thing ? 

Nay, he said, if madness be forbidden, neither may they 
copy the behaviour of madmen. 

You mean, I said, if I understand you aright, that there is 
one sort of narrative style which may be employed by a truly 
good man when he has anything to say, and that another sort 
will be used by a man of an opposite character and education. 

And which are these two sorts ? he asked. 

Suppose, I answered, that a just and good man in the imitations 
course of a narration conies on some saying or action of J^ 11 ^ may 
another good man, I should imagine that he will like to couraged. 
personate him, and will not be ashamed of this sort of 
imitation : he will be most ready to play the part of the 
good man when he is acting firmly and wisely; in a less 
degree when he is overtaken by illness or love or drink, or 
has met with any other disaster. But when he comes to a 
character which is unworthy of him, he will not make a 
study of that ; he will disdain such a person, and will assume 
his likeness, if at all, for a moment only when he is performing 
some good action ; at other times he will be ashamed to play 
a part which he has never practised, nor will he like to 
fashion and frame himself after the baser models ; he feels 
the employment of such an art, unless in jest, to be beneath 
him, and his mind revolts at it. 

So I should expect, he replied. 

Then he will adopt a mode of narration such as we have 
illustrated out of Homer, that is to say, his style will be both 
imitative and narrative ; but there will be very little of the 
former, and a great deal of the latter. Do you agree ? 

Certainly, he said ; that is the model which such a speaker 
397 must necessarily take. 

But there is another sort of character who will narrate imitations 
anything, and, the worse he is, the more unscrupulous he will h j^ h a r r ^ 
be ; nothing will be too bad for him : and he will be ready to hibited. 


Three styles, simple, pantomimic, mixed. 



Two kinds 
of style 
the one 
simple, the 
other mul- 
a third 
which is a 
tion of the 

The simple 
style alone 
is to be 
admitted in 
the State ; 
the attrac- 
tions of 
the mixed 
style are 
ledged, but 
it appears 
to be ex- 

imitate anything, not as a joke, but in right good earnest, and 
before a large company. As I was just now saying, he will 
attempt to represent the roll of thunder, the noise of wind 
and hail, or the creaking of wheels, and pulleys, and the 
various sounds of flutes, pipes, trumpets, and all sorts of 
instruments : he will bark like a dog, bleat like a sheep, or 
crow like a cock ; his entire art will consist in imitation of 
voice and gesture, and there will be very little narration. 

That, he said, will be his mode of speaking. 

These, then, are the two kinds of style ? 


And you would agree with me in saying that one of them is 
simple and has but slight changes ; and if the harmony and 
rhythm are also chosen for their simplicity, the result is that 
the speaker, if he speaks correctly, is always pretty much the 
same in style, and he will keep within the limits of a single 
harmony (for the changes are not great), and in like manner 
he will make use of nearly the same rhythm? 

That is quite true, he said. 

Whereas the other requires all sorts of harmonies and all 
sorts of rhythms, if the music and the style are to correspond, 
because the style has all sorts of changes. 

That is also perfectly true, he replied. 

And do not the two styles, or the mixture of the two, com- 
prehend all poetry, and every form of expression in words ? 
No one can say anything except in one or other of them or in 
both together. 

They include all, he said. 

And shall we receive into our State all the three styles, or 
one only of the two unmixed styles ? or would you include 
the mixed ? 

I should prefer only to admit the pure imitator of virtue. 

Yes, I said, Adeimantus ; but the mixed style is also very 
charming : and indeed the pantomimic, which is the opposite 
of the one chosen by you, is the most popular style with 
children and their attendants, and with the world in general. 

I do not deny it. 

But I suppose you would argue that such a style is unsuit- 
able to our State, in which human nature is not twofold or 
manifold, for one man plays one part only ? 

The melody and rhythm are to follow the words. 83 

Yes ; quite unsuitable. Republic 

And this is the reason why in our State, and in our State 7// * 
only, we shall find a shoemaker to be a shoemaker and not SOCRATES, 


a pilot also, and a husbandman to be a husbandman and not a GLAUCON. 
dicast also, and a soldier a soldier and not a trader also, and 
the same throughout ? 

True, he said. 

398 And therefore when any one of these pantomimic gentle- The panto- 
men, who are so clever that they can imitate anything, p 111 ^ 51 

J ' is to receive 

comes to us, and makes a proposal to exhibit himself great 
and his poetry, we will fall down and worship him as honours, 

... , . c . , . , but he is to 

a sweet and holy and wonderful being; but we must be sent out 
also inform him that in our State such as he are not of the 
permitted to exist; the law will not allow them. And so c 
when we have anointed him with myrrh, and set a garland 
of wool upon his head, we shall send him away to another 
city. For we mean to employ for our souls' health the 
rougher and severer poet or story-teller, who will imitate 
the style of the virtuous only, and will follow those models 
which we prescribed at first when we began the education 
of our soldiers. 

We certainly will, he said, if we have the power. 

Then now, my friend, I said, that part of music or literary 
education which relates to the story or myth may be con- 
sidered to be finished ; for the matter and manner have both 
been discussed. 

I think so too, he said. 

Next in order will follow melody and song. 

That is obvious. 

Every one can see already what we ought to say about 
them, if we are to be consistent with ourselves. 

I fear, said Glaucon, laughing, that the word 'every one' 
hardly includes me, for I cannot at the moment say what 
they should be ; though I may guess. 

At any rate you can tell that a song or ode has three 
parts the words, the melody, and the rhythm ; that degree 
of knowledge I may presuppose ? 

Yes, he said ; so much as that you may. 

And as for the words, there will surely be no difference 
between words which are and which are not set to music ; 

G 2 

The harmonies or modes and their effects. 






The re- 
laxed me- 
lodies or 
are the 
Ionian and 
the Lydian. 
These are 
to be 

both will conform to the same laws, and these have been 
already determined by us ? 


And the melody and rhythm will depend upon the words ? 


We were saying, when we spoke of the subject-matter, 
that we had no need of lamentation and strains of sorrow ? 


And which are the harmonies expressive of sorrow ? You 
are musical, and can tell me. 

The harmonies which you mean are the mixed or tenor 
Lydian, and the full-toned or bass Lydian, and such like. 

These then, I said, must be banished; even to women 
who have a character to maintain they are of no use, and 
much less to men. 


In the next place, drunkenness and softness and indolence 
are utterly unbecoming the character of our guardians. 

Utterly unbecoming. 

And which are the soft or drinking harmonies ? 

The Ionian, he replied, and the Lydian ; they are termed 399 
'relaxed. 1 

Well, and are these of any military use ? 

Quite the reverse, he replied ; and if so the Dorian and the 
Phrygian are the only ones which you have left. 

I answered : Of the harmonies I know nothing, but I want 
to have one warlike, to sound the note or accent which 
a brave man utters in the hour of danger and stern resolve, 
or when his cause is failing, and he is going to wounds 
or death or is overtaken by some other evil, and at every 
such crisis meets the blows of fortune with firm step and 
a determination to endure ; and another to be used by him 
in times of peace and freedom of action, when there is no 
pressure of necessity, and he is seeking to persuade God by 
prayer, or man by instruction and admonition, or on the other 
hand, when he is expressing his willingness to yield to 
persuasion or entreaty or admonition, and which represents 
him when by prudent conduct he has attained his end, not 
carried away by his success, but acting moderately and wisely 
under the circumstances, and acquiescing in the event. These 

Musical instruments ; rhythms. 85 

two harmonies I ask you to leave ; the strain of necessity Republic 
and the strain of freedom, the strain of the unfortunate and IIL 
the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage, and the SOCRATES, 
strain of temperance ; these, I say, leave. 

And these, he replied, are the Dorian and Phrygian har- 
monies of which I was just now speaking. 

Then, I said, if these and these only are to be used in our The Do- 
songs and melodies, we shall not want multiplicity of notes ^ a ? d 

. . * Phrygian 

or a panharmonic scale ? are to be 

I Suppose not. retained. 

Then we shall not maintain the artificers of lyres with 
three corners and complex scales, or the makers of any other 
many-stringed curiously-harmonised instruments ? 

Certainly not. 

But what do you say to flute-makers and flute-players? Musical 
Would you admit them into our State when you reflect that JU^T_ 
in this composite use of harmony the flute is worse than which are 
all the stringed instruments put together; even the pan- f obe re- 
harmonic music is only an imitation of the flute ? which *" 

Clearly not. allowed ? 

There remain then only the lyre and the harp for use in 
the city, and the shepherds may have a pipe in the country. 

That is surely the conclusion to be drawn from the 

The preferring of Apollo and his instruments to Marsyas 
and his instruments is not at all strange, I said. 

Not at all, he replied. 

And so, by the dog of Egypt, we have been unconsciously 
purging the State, which not long ago we termed luxurious. 

And we have done wisely, he replied. 

Then let us now finish the purgation, I said. Next in order 
to harmonies, rhythms will naturally follow, and they should 
be subject to the same rules, for we ought not to seek out 
complex systems of metre, or metres of every kind, but rather 
to discover what rhythms are the expressions of a courageous 
400 and harmonious life ; and when we have found them, we 
shall adapt the foot and the melody to words having a like 
spirit, not the words to the foot and melody. To say what 
these rhythms are will be your duty you must teach me 
them, as you have already taught me the harmonies. 


The question of rhythms referred to Damon. 



kinds of 
rhythm as 
there are 
four notes 
of the te- 

and har- 
style, and 
style is the 
of the soul. 

But, indeed, he replied, I cannot tell you. I only know 
that there are some three principles of rhythm out of which 
metrical systems are framed, just as in sounds there are four 
notes * out of which all the harmonies are composed ; that is 
an observation which I have made. But of what sort of lives 
they are severally the imitations I am unable to say. 

Then, I said, we must take Damon into our counsels ; and 
he will tell us what rhythms are expressive of meanness, 
or insolence, or fury, or other unworthiness, and what are to 
be reserved for the expression of opposite feelings. And 
I think that I have an indistinct recollection of his men- 
tioning a complex Cretic rhythm; also a dactylic or heroic, 
and he arranged them in some manner which I do not quite 
understand, making the rhythms equal in the rise and fall of 
the foot, long and short alternating; and, unless I am mistaken, 
he spoke of an iambic as well as of a trochaic rhythm, and 
assigned to them short and long quantities 2 . Also in some 
cases he appeared to praise or censure the movement of the 
foot quite as much as the rhythm ; or perhaps a combination 
of the two ; for I am not certain what he meant. These 
matters, however, as I was saying, had better be referred 
to Damon himself, for the analysis of the subject would 
be difficult, you know ? 

Rather so, I should say. 

But there is no difficulty in seeing that grace or the 
absence of grace is an effect of good or bad rhythm. 

None at all. 

And also that good and bad rhythm naturally assimilate to 
a good and bad style ; and that harmony and discord in like 
manner follow style; for our principle is that rhythm and 
harmony are regulated by the words, and not the words 
by them. 

Just so, he said, they should follow the words. 

And will not the words and the character of the style 
depend on the temper of the soul ? 

1 i. e. the fonr notes of the tetrachord. 

a Socrates expresses himself carelessly in accordance with his assumed igno- 
rance of the details of the subject. In the first part of the sentence he appears 
to be speaking of paeonic rhythms which are in the ratio of f ; in the second part, 
of dactylic and anapaestic rhythms, which are in the ratio of \ ; in the last 
clause, of iambic and trochaic rhythms, which are in the ratio of \ or f . 

Other artists, and not only poets, to be under the State. 8 7 

Yes. Republic 

And everything else on the style ? IIL 


Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good 

, . ,. . , J . - Simplicity 

rhythm depend on simplicity, 1 mean the true simplicity of the great 
a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that first prin- 
other simplicity which is only an euphemism for folly ? 

Very true, he replied. 

And if our youth are to do their work in life, must they not 
make these graces and harmonies their perpetual aim ? 

They must. 

401 And surely the art of the painter and every other creative andaprm- 
and constructive art are full of them, weaving, embroidery, ^ I ^ de f nch 
architecture, and every kind of manufacture; also nature, spread in 
animal and vegetable, in all of them there is grace or the nature and 
absence of grace. And ugliness and discord and inhar- 
monious motion are nearly allied to ill words and ill nature, 
as grace and harmony are the twin sisters of goodness and 
virtue and bear their likeness. 

That is quite true, he said. 

But shall our superintendence go no further, and are the Our titi- 
poets only to be required by us to express the image of the Z6 o^ ust to 
good in their works, on pain, if they do anything else, of manhood 
expulsion from our State ? Or is the same control to be ex- amidst 
tended to other artists, and are they also to be prohibited from S ions of 
exhibiting the opposite forms of vice and intemperance and grace and 
meanness and indecency in sculpture and building and the O niy ^ail 
other creative arts ; and is he who cannot conform to this rule ugliness 
of ours to be prevented from practising his art in our State, J^ 
lest the taste of our citizens be corrupted by him? We excluded. 
would not have our guardians grow up amid images of moral 
deformity, as in some noxious pasture, and there browse and 
feed upon many a baneful herb and flower day by day, 
little by little, until they silently gather a festering mass of 
corruption in their own soul. Let our artists rather be those 
who are gifted to discern the true nature of the beautiful and 
graceful ; then will our youth dwell in a land of health, amid 
fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in everything ; 
and beauty, the effluence of fair works, shall flow into the eye 
and ear, like a health-giving breeze from a purer region, and 

Music the most potent instrument of education. 



The power 
of impart- 
ing grace is 

by har- 

The true 
must know 
the essen- 
tial forms 
of virtue 
and vice. 

insensibly draw the soul from earliest years into likeness and 
sympathy with the beauty of reason. 

There can be no nobler training than that, he replied. 

And therefore, I said, Glaucon, musical training is a more 
potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and har- 
mony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on 
which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the 
soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who 
is ill-educated ungraceful ; and also because he who has 
received this true education of the inner being will most 
shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, 
and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and 402 
receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, 
he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his 
youth, even before he is able to know the reason why ; and 
when reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend 
with whom his education has made him long familiar. 

Yes, he said, I quite agree with you in thinking that our 
youth should be trained in music and on the grounds which 
you mention. 

Just as in learning to read, I said, we were satisfied when 
we knew the letters of the alphabet, which are very few, in 
all their recurring sizes and combinations ; not slighting 
them as unimportant whether they occupy a space large or 
small, but everywhere eager to make them out; and not 
thinking ourselves perfect in the art of reading until we 
recognise them wherever they are found l : 


Or, as we recognise the reflection of letters in the water, 
or in a mirror, only when we know the letters themselves ; 
the same art and study giving us the knowledge of both : 


Even so, as I maintain, neither we nor our guardians, 
whom we have to educate, can ever become musical until we 
and they know the essential forms of temperance, courage, 
liberality, magnificence, and their kindred, as well as the 
contrary forms, in all their combinations, and can recognise 
them and their images wherever they are found, not slighting 

1 Cp. supra, II. 368 D. 

' Mem pulchra in corpore pulchro! 89 

them either in small things or great, but believing them all Republic 
to be within the sphere of one art and study. 

Most assuredly. 

And when a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful _, 

The har- 

form, and the two are cast in one mould, that will be the monyof 
fairest of sights to him who has an eye to see it ? soul and 

J body the 

The fairest indeed. fairest of 

And the fairest is also the loveliest ? sights. 

That may be assumed. 

And the man who has the spirit of harmony will be most 
in love with the loveliest ; but he will not love him who is of 
an inharmonious soul ? 

That is true, he replied, if the deficiency be in his soul ; The true 
but if there be any merely bodily defect in another he will J^^d 
be patient of it, and will love all the same. defects of 

I perceive, I said, that you have or have had experiences the P 61 " 5011 - 
of this sort, and I agree. But let me ask you another ques- 
tion : Has excess of pleasure any affinity to temperance ? 

How can that be ? he replied ; pleasure deprives a man of 
the use of his faculties quite as much as pain. 

Or any affinity to virtue in general ? 
403 None whatever. 

Any affinity to wantonness and intemperance ? 

Yes, the greatest. 

And is there any greater or keener pleasure than that of 
sensual love ? 

No, nor a madder. 

Whereas true love is a love of beauty and order tern- True love is 
perate and harmonious ? 

Quite true, he said. 

Then no intemperance or madness should be allowed to 
approach true love ? 

Certainly not. 

Then mad or intemperate pleasure must never be allowed True love is 
to come near the lover and his beloved ; neither of them can ^suaiit 1 
have any part in it if their love is of the right sort ? and coarse- 

No, indeed, Socrates, it must never come near them. ness> 

Then I suppose that in the city which we are founding you 
would make a law to the effect that a friend should use no 
other familiarity to his love than a father would use to his 


The good soul improves the body, not the body the soul. 



The body 

the mind, 

The usual 

training of 


son, and then only for a noble purpose, and he must first 
have the other's consent ; and this rule is to limit him in 
a11 his intercours e, and he is never to be seen going further, 
or, if he exceeds, he is to be deemed guilty of coarseness and 
bad taste. 

I quite agree, he said. 

Thus much of music, which makes a fair ending ; for what 
should be the end of music if not the love of beauty ? 

I agree, he said. 

After music comes gymnastic, in which our youth are next 
to be trained. 


Gymnastic as well as music should begin in early years ; the 
training in it should be careful and should continue through 
life. Now my belief is, and this is a matter upon which 
I should like to have your opinion in confirmation of my own, 
but my own belief is, not that the good body by any bodily 
excellence improves the soul, but, on the contrary, that the 
good soul, by her own excellence, improves the body as 
far as this may be possible. What do you say ? 

Yes, I agree. 

Then, to the mind when adequately trained, we shall be 
right; in handing over the more particular care of the body ; 
and in order to avoid prolixity we will now only give the 
general outlines of the subject. 

Very good. 

That they must abstain from intoxication has been already 
remarked by us ; for of all persons a guardian should be the 
last to get drunk and not know where in the world he is. 

Yes, he said ; that a guardian should require another 
guardian to take care of him is ridiculous indeed. 

But next, what shall we say of their food ; for the men are 
in training for the great contest of all are they not ? 

Yes, he said. 

And will the habit of body of our ordinary athletes be 404 
suited to them ? 

Why not ? 

I am afraid, I said, that a habit of body such as they have 
is but a slee Py sort of thin & and rather perilous to health. 
Do you not observe that these athletes sleep away their 

The simple gymnastic twin sister of the simple music. 9 1 

lives, and are liable to most dangerous illnesses if they Republic 
depart, in ever so slight a degree, from their customary 7//< 

regimen ? SOCRATES, 


Yes, I do. 

Then, I said, a finer sort of training will be required for 
our warrior athletes, who are to be like wakeful dogs, and 
to see and hear with the utmost keenness ; amid the many 
changes of water and also of food, of summer heat and 
winter cold, which they will have to endure when on a 
campaign, they must not be liable to break down in health. 

That is my view. 

The really excellent gymnastic is twin sister of that simple 
music which we were just now describing. 

How so ? 

Why, I conceive that there is a gymnastic which, like our Military 
music, is simple and good ; and especially the military gym- &y mnastlc - 

What do you mean ? 

My meaning may be learned from Homer ; he, you know, 
feeds his heroes at their feasts, when they are campaigning, 
on soldiers' fare; they have no fish, although they are on 
the shores of the Hellespont, and they are not allowed 
boiled meats but only roast, which is the food most con- 
venient for soldiers, requiring only that they should light 
a fire, and not involving the trouble of carrying about pots 
and pans. 


And I can hardly be mistaken in saying that sweet sauces 
are nowhere mentioned in Homer. In proscribing them, 
however, he is not singular; all professional athletes are 
well aware that a man who is to be in good condition should 
take nothing of the kind. 

Yes, he said ; and knowing this, they are quite right in not 
taking them. 

Then you would not approve of Syracusan dinners, and Syracusan 
the refinements of Sicilian cookery ? SrinthSf 

I think not. courtezans 

Nor, if a man is to be in condition, would you allow him to 
have a Corinthian girl as his fair friend ? 
Certainly not. 

The vanity of doctors and lawyers. 



The luxuri- 
ous style of 
living may 
be justly 
to the pan- 
strain of 

Every man 
should be 
his own 
doctor and 

Bad as it is 
to go to 
law, it is 
still worse 
to be a 
lover of 

Neither would you approve of the delicacies, as they are 
thought, of Athenian confectionary? 

Certainly not. 

All such feeding and living may be rightly compared by 
us to melody and song composed in the panharmonic style, 
and in all the rhythms. 


There complexity engendered licence, and here disease; 
whereas simplicity in music was the parent of temperance in 
the soul ; and simplicity in gymnastic of health in the body. 

Most true, he said. 

But when intemperance and diseases multiply in a State, 405 
halls of justice and medicine are always being opened ; and 
the arts of the doctor and the lawyer give themselves airs, 
finding how keen is the interest which not only the slaves 
but the freemen of a city take about them. 

Of course. 

And yet what greater proof can there be of a bad and dis- 
graceful state of education than this, that not only artisans 
and the meaner sort of people need the skill of first-rate phy- 
sicians and judges, but also those who would profess to have 
had a liberal education ? Is it not disgraceful, and a great 
sign of the want of good-breeding, that a man should have to 
go abroad for his law and physic because he has none of his 
own at home, and must therefore surrender himself into the 
hands of other men whom he makes lords and judges over 

Of all things, he said, the most disgraceful. 

Would you say ' most,' I replied, when you consider that 
there is a further stage of the evil in which a man is not only 
a life-long litigant, passing all his days in the courts, either 
as plaintiff or defendant, but is actually led by his bad taste 
to pride himself on his litigiousness ; he imagines that he is 
a master in dishonesty; able to take every crooked turn, and 
wriggle into and out of every hole, bending like a withy and 
getting out of the way of justice : and all for what ? in 
order to gain small points not worth mentioning, he not 
knowing that so to order his life as to be able to do without 
a napping judge is a far higher and nobler sort of thing. Is 
not that still more disgraceful ? 

Asclepius and Her odious. 93 

Yes, he said, that is still more disgraceful. Republic 

Well, I said, and to require the help of medicine, not when /7/ ' 

a wound has to be cured, or on occasion of an epidemic, but 

just because, by indolence and a habit of life such as we have 

been describing, men fill themselves with waters and winds, require the 

as if their bodies were a marsh, compelling the ingenious hel P f 

f A i r i c I- i medicine. 

sons of Asclepius to find more names for diseases, such as 
flatulence and catarrh ; is not this, too, a disgrace ? 

Yes, he said, they do certainly give very strange and new- 
fangled names to diseases. 

Yes, I said, and I do not believe that there were any such in the time 
diseases in the days of Asclepius; and this I infer from the pj^^of 
circumstance that the hero Eurypylus, after he has been Homer the 
wounded in Homer, drinks a posset of Pramnian wine well J^icine f 
406 besprinkled with barley-meal and grated cheese, which are was very 
certainly inflammatory, and yet the sons of Asclepius who were sim P le - 
at the Trojan war do not blame the damsel who gives him 
the drink, or rebuke Patroclus, who is treating his case. 

Well, he said, that was surely an extraordinary drink to be 
given to a person in his condition. 

Not so extraordinary, I replied, if you bear in mind that The nurs- 
in former days, as is commonly said, before the time of ^JiLfan 
Herodicus, the guild of Asclepius did not practise our pre- with He- 
sent system of medicine, which may be said to educate rodicus - 
diseases. But Herodicus, being a trainer, and himself of a 
sickly constitution, by a combination of training and doctor- 
ing found out a way of torturing first and chiefly himself, 
and secondly the rest of the world. 

How was that ? he said. 

By the invention of lingering death ; for he had a mortal 
disease which he perpetually tended, and as recovery was out 
of the question, he passed his entire life as a valetudinarian ; 
he could do nothing but attend upon himself, and he was 
in constant torment whenever he departed in anything from 
his usual regimen, and so dying hard, by the help of science 
he struggled on to old age. 

A rare reward of his skill ! 

Yes, I said ; a reward which a man might fairly expect 
who never understood that, if Asclepius did not instruct his 
descendants in valetudinarian arts, the omission arose, not 


The saying of Phocy tides. 



The work- 
has no time 
for tedious 

The slow 

equally an 
ment to the 
arts, to the 
practice of 

from ignorance or inexperience of such a branch of medicine, 
but because he knew that in all well-ordered states every 
individual has an occupation to which he must attend, and 
has therefore no leisure to spend in continually being ill. 
This we remark in the case of the artisan, but, ludicrously 
enough, do not apply the same rule to people of the richer 

How do you mean ? he said. 

I mean this : When a carpenter is ill he asks the physician 
for a rough and ready cure ; an emetic or a purge or a cautery 
or the knife, these are his remedies. And if some one pre- 
scribes for him a course of dietetics, and tells him that he 
must swathe and swaddle his head, and all that sort of thing, 
he replies at once that he has no time to be ill, and that he sees 
no good in a life which is spent in nursing his disease to the 
neglect of his customary employment ; and therefore bidding 
good-bye to this sort of physician, he resumes his ordinary 
habits, and either gets well and lives and does his business, 
or, if his constitution fails, he dies and has no more trouble. 

Yes, he said, and a man in his condition of life ought to 
use the art of medicine thus far only. 

Has he not, I said, an occupation ; and what profit would 407 
there be in his life if he were deprived of his occupation ? 

Quite true, he said. 

But with the rich man this is otherwise ; of him we do not 
say that he has any specially appointed work which he must 
perform, if he would live. 

He is generally supposed to have nothing to do. 

Then you never heard of the saying of Phocylides, that as 
soon as a man has a livelihood he should practise virtue ? 

Nay, he said, I think that he had better begin somewhat 

Let us not have a dispute with him about this, I said ; but 
rather ask ourselves : Is the practice of virtue obligatory on 
the rich man, or can he live without it ? And if obligatory 
on him, then let us raise a further question, whether this 
dieting of disorders, which is an impediment to the ap- 
plication of the mind in carpentering and the mechanical 
arts, does not equally stand in the way of the sentiment 
of Phocylides ? 

Asclepius a statesman. 95 

Of that, he replied, there can be no doubt ; such excessive Republic 
care of the body, when carried beyond the rules of gymnastic, ///> 
is most inimical to the practice of virtue. SOCRATES, 

1 Yes, indeed, I replied, and equally incompatible with the and an 
management of a house, an army, or an office of state ; and, kind of 
what is most important of all, irreconcileable with any kind Stud 7 or 
of study or thought or self-reflection there is a constant 
suspicion that headache and giddiness are to be ascribed to 
philosophy, and hence all practising or making trial of virtue 
in the higher sense is absolutely stopped; for a man is 
always fancying that he is being made ill, and is in constant 
anxiety about the state of his body. 

Yes, likely enough. 

And therefore our politic Asclepius may be supposed to Asclepius 
have exhibited the power of his art only to persons who, ^fdis- 0t 
being generally of healthy constitution and habits of life, had eased con- 
a definite ailment ; such as these he cured by purges and j^^g s 
operations, and bade them live as usual, herein consulting they were 
the interests of the State; but bodies which disease had 
penetrated through and through he would not have at- 
tempted to cure by gradual processes of evacuation and in- 
fusion : he did not want to lengthen out good-for-nothing 
lives, or to have weak fathers begetting weaker sons ; if a 
man was not able to live in the ordinary way he had no 
business to cure him ; for such a cure would have been of 
no use either to himself, or to the State. 

Then, he said, you regard Asclepius as a statesman. 

Clearly ; and his character is further illustrated by his sons. The case of 
408 Note that they were heroes in the days of old and practised the Jfho^T 
medicines of which I am speaking at the siege of Troy : You attended 
will remember how, when Pandarus wounded Menelaus, they b ^ * he sons 

* of Ascle- 

' Sucked the blood out of the wound, and sprinkled soothing P- 115 ' 
remedies V 

but they never prescribed what the patient was afterwards to 
eat or drink in the case of Menelaus, any more than in the 
case of Eurypylus ; the remedies, as they conceived, were 
enough to heal any man who before he was wounded was 

1 Making the answer of Socrates begin at ical ykp irpbs K.T.\. 

2 Iliad iv. 218. 


Distinction between the physician and the judge. 




The offence 



his o^n 1 
person ; 

healthy and regular in his habits ; and even though he did 
happen to drink a posset of Pramnian wine, he might get 
we u a jj tne same> But they would have nothing to do with 
unhealthy and intemperate subjects, whose lives were of no 
use either to themselves or others ; the art of medicine was 
not designed for their good, and though they were as rich 
as Midas, the sons of Asclepius would have declined to 
attend them. 

They were very acute persons, those sons of Asclepius. 

Naturally so, I replied. Nevertheless, the tragedians and 
Pindar disobeying our behests, although they acknowledge 
that Asclepius was the son of Apollo, say also that he was 
bribed into healing a rich man who was at the point of death, 
and for this reason he was struck by lightning. But we, 
in accordance with the principle already affirmed by us, will 
not believe them when they tell us both ; if he was the son 
of a god, we maintain that he was not avaricious ; or, if he 
was avaricious, he was not the son of a god. 

All that, Socrates, is excellent; but I should like to put 
a question to you : Ought there not to be good physicians in 
a State, and are not the best those who have treated the 
greatest number of constitutions good and bad ? and are not 
the best judges in like manner those who are acquainted 
with all sorts of moral natures ? 

Yes, I said, I too would have good judges and good 
physicians. But do you know whom I think good? 

Will you tell me ? 

I will, if I can. Let me however note that in the same 
question you join two things which are not the same. 

How so ? he asked. 

Why, I said, you join physicians and judges. Now the 
most ^ilful physicians are those who, from their youth 
upwards, have combined with the knowledge of their art 
greatest experience of disease ; they had better not be 
robust in health, and should have had all manner of diseases 
in their own persons. For the body, as I conceive, is not 
the instrument with which they cure the body ; in that case 
we could not allow them ever to be or to have been sickly ; 
but they cure the body with the mind, and the mind which 
has become and is sick can cure nothing. 

The simple medicine and simple law. 97 

That is very true, he said. Republic 
409 But with the judge it is otherwise ; since he governs mind IH ~ 
by mind ; he ought not therefore to have been trained among 

vicious minds, and to have associated with them from youth ^ 

upwards, and to have gone through the whole calendar of other hand, 

crime, only in order that he may quickly infer the crimes the J ud s e 

r ' . . . . , ... j. f , . should not 

of others as he might their bodily diseases from his own i ea rn to 

self-consciousness ; the honourable mind which is to form know evil 

a healthy judgment should have had no experience or con- practiced 1 

tamination of evil habits when young. And this is the reason it, but by 

why in youth good men often appear to be simple, and are ^"ion of"" 

easily practised upon by the dishonest, because they have no evil in 
examples of what evil is in their own souls. 

Yes, he said, they are far too apt to be deceived. 

Therefore, I said, the judge should not be young; he 
should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but 
from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others : 
knowledge should be his guide, not personal experience. 

Yes, he said, that is the ideal of a judge. 

Yes, I replied, and he will be a good man (which is my Such a 
answer to your question); for he is good who has a good J^mmaii 6 
soul. But the cunning and suspicious nature of which we nature far 
spoke, he who has committed many crimes, and fancies tetter and 

J truer than 

himself to be a master in wickedness, when he is amongst that of the 
his fellows, is wonderful in the precautions which he takes, ^P* in 
because he judges of them by himself: but when he gets into 
the company of men of virtue, who have the experience of 
age, he appears to be a fool again, owing to his unseasonable 
suspicions; he cannot recognise an honest man, because he 
has no pattern of honesty in himself; at the same time, as 
the bad are more numerous than the good, and he meets 
with them oftener, he thinks himself, and is by others 
thought to be, rather wise than foolish. 

Most true, he said. 

Then the good and wise judge whom we are seeking is not 
this man, but the other ; for vice cannot know virtue too, but 
a virtuous nature, educated by time, will acquire a knowledge 
both of virtue and vice : the virtuous, and not the vicious 
man has wisdom in my opinion. 

And in mine also. 


9 8 

The true aim of music and gymnastic. 



Music and 
are equally 
for the im- 
of the 

The mere 
must be 
and the 
nature pre- 
from be- 
too soft. 

This is the sort of medicine, and this is the sort of law, 
which you will sanction in your state. They will minister to 
better natures, giving health both of soul and of body ; but 
those who are diseased in their bodies they will leave to die, 
and the corrupt and incurable souls they will put an end to 

That is clearly the best thing both for the patients and for 
the State. 

And thus our youth, having been educated only in that 
simple music which, as we said, inspires temperance, will be 
reluctant to go to law. 


And the musician, who, keeping to the same track, is con- 
tent to practise the simple gymnastic, will have nothing to do 
with medicine unless in some extreme case. 

That I quite believe. 

The very exercises and toils which he undergoes are 
intended to stimulate the spirited element of his nature, 
and not to increase his strength ; he will not, like common 
athletes, use exercise and regimen to develope his muscles. 

Very right, he said. 

Neither are the two arts of music and gymnastic really 
designed, as is often supposed, the one for the training of 
the soul, the other for the training of the body. 

What then is the real object of them? 

I believe, I said, that the teachers of both have in view 
chiefly the improvement of the soul. 

How can that be? he asked. 

Did you never observe, I said, the effect on the mind itself 
of exclusive devotion to gymnastic, or the opposite effect of 
an exclusive devotion to music ? 

In what way shown ? he said. 

The one producing a temper of hardness ancl ferocity, the 
other of softness and effeminacy, I replied. 

Yes, he said, I am quite aware that the mere athlete 
becomes too much of a savage, and that the mere musician is 
melted and softened beyond what is good for him. 

Yet surely, I said, this ferocity only comes from spirit, 
which, if rightly educated, would give courage, but, if too 
much intensified, is liable to become hard and brutal. 

The excess of -music and gymnastic. 99 

That I quite think. . Republic 

On the other hand the philosopher will have the quality of In - 
gentleness. And this also, when too much indulged, will 
turn to softness, but, if educated rightly, will be gentle and 


And in our opinion the guardians ought to have both these 
qualities ? 


And both should be in harmony ? 

Beyond question. 

411 And the harmonious soul is both temperate and coura- 
geous ? 


And the inharmonious is cowardly and boorish ? 

Very true. 

And, when a man allows music to play upon him and Music, if 
to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears those ^"renders 
sweet and soft and melancholy airs of which we were just now the weaker 
speaking, and his whole life is passed in warbling and the nature ef [ e ' 

, | ,. c . . mmate, the 

delights of song ; in the first stage of the process the passion stronger 
or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made irritable, 
useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on 
the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he 
begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit 
and cut out the sinews of his soul ; and he becomes a feeble 

Very true. 

If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change 
is speedily accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the 
power of music weakening the spirit renders him excitable ; 
on the least provocation he flames up at once, and is 
speedily extinguished; instead of having spirit he grows 
irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable. 


And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and And in H1 f 

, manner the 

is a great feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music well-fed 
and philosophy, at first the high condition of his body fills athlete . if 
him with pride and spirit, and he becomes twice the man that education? 
he was. 

H 2 

ioo The two corresponding elements in human nature. 



ates into a 
wild beast. 

Music to 
be mingled 
with gym- 
nastic, and 
both at- 
to the indi- 
vidual soul. 

Enough of 
of educa- 
tion : who 
are to be 
our rulers ? 


And what happens ? if he do nothing else, and holds no 
converse with the Muses, does not even that intelligence 
which there may be in him, having no taste of any sort of 
learning or enquiry or thought or culture, grow feeble and 
dull and blind, his mind never waking up or receiving 
nourishment, and his senses not being purged of their mists ? 

True, he said. 

And he ends by becoming a hater of philosophy, uncivilized, 
never using the weapon of persuasion, he is like a wild 
beast, all violence and fierceness, and knows no other way of 
dealing; and he lives in all ignorance and evil conditions, 
and has no sense of propriety and grace. 

That is quite true, he said. 

And as there are two principles of human nature, one the 
spirited and the other the philosophical, some God, as I 
should say, has given mankind two arts answering to them 
(and only indirectly to the soul and body), in order that these 
two principles (like the strings of an instrument) may be 412 
relaxed or drawn tighter until they are duly harmonized. 

That appears to be the intention. 

And he who mingles music with gymnastic in the fairest 
proportions, and best attempers them to the soul, may be 
rightly called the true musician and harmonist in a far higher 
sense than the tuner of the strings. 

You are quite right, Socrates. 

And such a presiding genius will be always required in our 
State if the government is to last. 

Yes, he will be absolutely necessary. 

Such, then, are our principles of nurture and education : 
Where would be the use of going into further details about 
the dances of our citizens, or about their hunting and coursing, 
their gymnastic and equestrian contests ? For these all follow 
the general principle, and having found that, we shall have 
no difficulty in discovering them. 

I dare say that there will be no difficulty. 

Very good, I said ; then what is the next question ? Must 
we not ask who are to be rulers and who subjects ? 


There can be no doubt that the elder must rule the younger. 

Selection and probation of the guardians. 101 

Clearly. Republic 

And that the best of these must rule. IIL 
That is also clear. 
Now. are not the best husbandmen those who are most 

The elder 

devoted to husbandry ? must rule 

Yes. anc * the 

And as we are to have the best of guardians for our city, 
must they not be those who have most the character of 
guardians ? 


And to this end they ought to be wise and efficient, and to 
have a special care of the State ? 


And a man will be most likely to care about that which he Those are 
loves? f 

To be Sure. rulers who 

And he will be most likely to love that which he regards as have been 

J f tested mall 

having the same interests with himself, and that of which the the stages 
good or evil fortune is supposed by him at any time most of their life; 
to affect his own ? 

Very true, he replied. 

Then there must be a selection. Let us note among the 
guardians those who in their whole life show the greatest 
eagerness to do what is for the good of their country, and the 
greatest repugnance to do what is against her interests. 

Those are the right men. 

And they will have to be watched at every age, in order 
that we may see whether they preserve their resolution, and 
never, under the influence either of force or enchantment, 
forget or cast off their sense of duty to the State. 

How cast off? he said. 

I will explain to you, I replied. A resolution may go out 
of a man's mind either with his will or against his will ; with 
413 his will when he gets rid of a falsehood and learns better, 
against his will whenever he is deprived of a truth. 

I understand, he said, the willing loss of a resolution ; the 
meaning of the unwilling I have yet to learn. 

Why, I said, do you not see that men are unwillingly 
deprived of good, and willingly of evil ? Is not to have lost 
the truth an evil, and to possess the truth a good ? and you 


The guardians of the State 



and who 
are un- 
changed by 
the influ- 
ence either 
of pleasure, 
or of fear, 

or of en- 

would agree that to conceive things as they are is to possess 
the truth ? 

Yes, he replied ; I agree with you in thinking that man- 
kind are deprived of truth against their will. 

And is not this involuntary deprivation caused either by 
theft, or force, or enchantment ? 

Still, he replied, I do not understand you. 

I fear that I must have been talking darkly, like the trage- 
dians. I only mean that some men are changed by persua- 
sion and that others forget ; argument steals away the hearts 
of one class, and time of the other ; and this I call theft. 
Now you understand me ? 


Those again who are forced, are those whom the violence 
of some pain or grief compels to change their opinion. 

I understand, he said, and you are quite right. 

And you would also acknowledge that the enchanted are 
those who change their minds either under the softer in- 
fluence of pleasure, or the sterner influence of fear ? 

Yes, he said ; everything that deceives may be said to en- 

Therefore, as I was just now saying, we must enquire who 
are the best guardians of their own conviction that what they 
think the interest of the State is to be the rule of their lives. 
We must watch them from their youth upwards, and make 
them perform actions in which they are most likely to forget 
or to be deceived, and he who remembers and is not deceived 
is to be selected, and he who fails in the trial is to be re- 
jected. That will be the way ? 


And there should also be toils and pains and conflicts pre- 
scribed for them, in which they will be made to give further 
proof of the same qualities. 
. Very right, he replied. 

And then, I said, we must try them with enchantments 
that is the third sort of test and see what will be their 
behaviour : like those who take colts amid noise and tumult 
to see if they are of a timid nature, so must we take our 
youth amid terrors of some kind, and again pass them into 
pleasures, and prove them more thoroughly than gold is 

must be guardians of themselves. 103 

proved in the furnace, that we may discover whether they Republic 
are armed against all enchantments, and of a noble bearing H ' 
always, good guardians of themselves and of the music which SOCRATES, 


they have learned, and retaining under all circumstances a 
rhythmical and harmonious nature, such as will be most 
serviceable to the individual and to the State. And he if they 
who at every age, as boy and youth and in mature life, has ^J 1 ^ 6 
come out of the trial victorious and pure, shall be appointed are to be 
414 a ruler and guardian of the State; he shall be honoured in j^^ d 
life and death, and shall receive sepulture and other me- after death. 
mortals of honour, the greatest that we have to give. But 
him who fails, we must reject. I am inclined to think that 
this is the sort of way in which our rulers and guardians 
should be chosen and appointed. I speak generally, and not 
with any pretension to exactness. 

And, speaking generally, I agree with you, he said. 

And perhaps the word ' guardian ' in the fullest sense The title of 
ought to be applied to this higher class only who preserve us f^ 1 ^ 5 
against foreign enemies and maintain peace among our served for 
citizens at home, that the one may not have the will, or the * el ^ s > 
others the power, to harm us. The young men whom we men to be 
before called guardians may be more properly designated called aux- 
auxiliaries and supporters of the principles of the rulers. 

I agree with you, he said. 

How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods 
of which we lately spoke just one royal lie which may 
deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the 
rest of the city ? 

What sort of lie ? he said. 

Nothing new, I replied ; only an old Phoenician * tale of The Phoe- 
what has often occurred before now in other places, (as the 
poets say, and have made the world believe,) though not in 
our time, and I do not know whether such an event could 
ever happen again, or could now even be made probable, if 
it did. 

How your words seem to hesitate on your lips ! 

You will not wonder, I replied, at my hesitation when you 
have heard. 

Speak, he said, and fear not. 

1 Cp. Laws, 663 E. 




The citizens 
to be told 
that they 
are really 
sent up out 
of the earth, 

and com- 
posed of 
metals of 

The noble 
quality to 
rise in the 
State, the 
ignoble to 

The parable of the metals. 

Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how 
to look you in the face, or in what words to utter the auda- 
cious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first 
to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people. 
They are to be told that their youth was a dream, and the 
education and training which they received from us, an ap- 
pearance only ; in reality during all that time they were being 
formed and fed in the womb of the earth, where they them- 
selves and their arms and appurtenances were manufactured ; 
when they were completed, the earth, their mother, sent 
them up ; and so, their country being their mother and also 
their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to 
defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard 
as children of the earth and their own brothers. 

You had good reason, he said, to be ashamed of the lie 
which you were going to tell. 

True, I replied, but there is more coming; I have only 41 5 
told you half. Citizens, we shall say to them in our tale, you 
are brothers, yet God has framed you differently. Some 
of you have the power of command, and in the composition of 
these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have the 
greatest honour ; others he has made of silver, to be auxil- 
iaries; others again who are to be husbandmen and crafts- 
men he has composed of brass and iron ; and the species 
will generally be preserved in the children. But as all are 
of the same original stock, a golden parent will sometimes 
have a silver son, or a silver parent a golden son. And God 
proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, 
that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, 
or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the 
purity of the race. They should observe what elements 
mingle in their offspring ; for if the son of a golden or silver 
parent has an admixture of brass and iron, then nature orders 
a transposition of ranks, and the eye of the ruler must not be 
pitiful towards the child because he has to descend in the 
scale and become a husbandman or artisan, just as there may 
be sons of artisans who having an admixture of gold or silver 
in them are raised to honour, and become guardians or 
auxiliaries. For an oracle says that when a man of brass 
or iron guards the State, it will be destroyed. Such is the 

The auxiliaries imist be watch-dogs, not wolves. 105 

tale ; is there any possibility of making our citizens believe Republic 

. f^ J. J. J. 

in it? 

Not in the present generation, he replied ; there is no way 
of accomplishing this ; but their sons may be made to believe Ig such a 
in the tale, and their sons* sons, and posterity after them. fiction cre- 

I see the difficulty, I replied ; yet the fostering of such ^ te ^ 
a belief will make them care more for the city and for one future ge- 
another. Enough, however, of the fiction, which may now aeration ; 

not m the 

fly abroad upon the wings of rumour, while we arm our pre sent. 
earth-born heroes, and lead them forth under the command 
of their rulers. Let them look round and select a spot Theseiec- 
whence they can best suppress insurrection, if any prove ^e for the 
refractory within, and also defend themselves against enemies, warriors' 
who like wolves may come down on the fold from without ; camp ' 
there let them encamp, and when they have encamped, let 
them sacrifice to the proper Gods and prepare their dwellings. 

Just so, he said. 

And their dwellings must be such as will shield them 
against the cold of winter and the heat of summer. 

I suppose that you mean houses, he replied. 

Yes, I said ; but they must be the houses of soldiers, and 
not of shop-keepers. 

What is the difference ? he said. 

416 That I will endeavour to explain, I replied. To keep The war- 
watch-dogs, who, from want of discipline or hunger, or some jj^^ 1 
evil habit or other, would turn upon the sheep and worry izedbyedu- 
them, and behave not like dogs but wolves, would be a foul cation - 
and monstrous thing in a shepherd ? 

Truly monstrous, he said. 

And therefore every care must be taken that our auxiliaries, 
being stronger than our citizens, may not grow to be too 
much for them and become savage tyrants instead of friends 
and allies ? 

Yes, great care should be taken. 

And would not a really good education furnish the best 
safeguard ? 

But they are well-educated already, he replied. 

I cannot be so confident, my dear Glaucon, I said ; I am 
much more certain that they ought to be, and that true 
education, whatever that may be, will have the greatest 


The auxiliaries must be soldiers, not householders. 



Their way 
of life will 
be that of 
a camp. 

They must 
have no 
homes or 
property of 
their own. 

tendency to civilize and Humanize them in their relations 
to one another, and to those who are under their protection. 

Very true, he replied. 

And not only their education, but their habitations, and all 
that belongs to them, should be such as will neither impair 
their virtue as guardians, nor tempt them to prey upon the 
other citizens. Any man of sense must acknowledge that. 

He must. 

Then now let us consider what will be their way of life, 
if they are to realize our idea of them. In the first place, 
none of them should have any property of his own beyond 
what is absolutely necessary; neither should they have 
a private house or store closed against any one who has a 
mind to enter; their provisions should be only such as 
are required by trained warriors, who are men of temperance 
and courage ; they should agree to receive from the citizens 
a fixed rate of pay, enough to meet the expenses of the year 
and no more ; and they will go to mess and live together like 
soldiers in a camp. Gold and silver we will tell them 
that they have from God ; the diviner metal is within them, 
and they have therefore no need of the dross which is 
current among men, and ought not to pollute the divine 
by any such earthly admixture ; for that commoner metal has 4 J 7 
been the source of many unholy deeds, but their own is 
undefiled. And they alone of all the citizens may not touch 
or handle silver or gold, or be under the same roof with 
them, or wear them, or drink from them. And this will 
be their salvation, and they will be the saviours of the State. 
But should they ever acquire homes or lands or moneys 
of their own, they will become housekeepers and husbandmen 
instead of guardians, enemies and tyrants instead of allies of 
the other citizens; hating and being hated, plotting and 
being plotted against, they will pass their whole life in much 
greater terror of internal than of external enemies, and the 
hour of ruin, both to themselves and to the rest of the State, 
will be at hand. For all which reasons may we not say that 
thus shall our State be ordered, and that these shall be 
the regulations appointed by us for our guardians concerning 
their houses and all other matters ? 

Yes, said Glaucon. 


steph. HERE Adeimantus interposed a question : How would you Republic 

419 answer, Socrates, said he, if a person were to say that you 

are making 1 these people miserable, and that they are the 0*** 
cause of their owit unhappiness ; the city in fact belongs to An ob j ec . 
them, but they are none the better for it ; whereas other men tion that 
acquire lands, and build large and handsome houses, and haTmade 
have everything handsome about them, offering sacrifices his citizens 
to the gods on their own account, and practising hospitality ; ^serabie 
moreover, as you were saying just now, they have gold 
and silver, and all that is usual among the favourites of 
fortune ; but our poor citizens are no better than mercenaries 
who are quartered in the city and are always mounting 
guard ? 

420 Yes, I said ; and you may add that they are only fed, and worst 
and not paid in addition to their food, like other men ; and gocrates^ 
therefore they cannot, if they would, take a journey of they have 
pleasure ; they have no money to spend on a mistress or any no mone y- 
other luxurious fancy, which, as the world goes, is thought to 

be happiness ; and many other accusations of the same 
nature might be added. 

But, said he, let us suppose all this to be included in the 

You mean to ask, I said, what will be our answer ? 


If we proceed along the old path, my belief, I said, is Yet very 
that we shall find the answer. And our answer will be that, llkely th ? y 

' may be the 

even as they are, our guardians may very likely be the happiest of 

happiest of men ; but that our aim in founding the State was mankind - 
not the disproportionate happiness of any one class, but the 
greatest happiness of the whole ; we thought that in a State 

1 Or, * that for their own good you are making these people miserable.' 





The State, 
like a 
must be 
judged of 
as a whole. 

The guard- 
ians must 
be guard- 
ians, not 
boon com- 

The State must be regarded as a whole. 

which is ordered with a view to the good of the whole we 
should be most likely to find justice, and in the ill-ordered 
State injustice : and, having found them, we might then decide 
which of the two is the happier. At present, I take it, we are 
fashioning the happy State, not piecemeal, or with a view of 
making a few happy citizens, but as a whole ; and by-and-by 
we will proceed to view the opposite kind of State. Suppose 
that we were painting a statue, and some one came up to us 
and said, Why do you not put the most beautiful colours on 
the most beautiful parts of the body the eyes ought to be 
purple, but you have made them black to him we might 
fairly answer, Sir, you would not surely have us beautify the 
eyes to such a degree that they are no longer eyes ; consider 
rather whether, by giving this and the other features their 
due proportion, we make the whole beautiful. And so I 
say to you, do not compel us to assign to the guardians 
a sort of happiness which will make them anything but 
guardians ; for we too can clothe our husbandmen in royal 
apparel, and set crowns of gold on their heads, and bid them 
till the ground as much as they like, and no more. Our 
potters also might be allowed to repose on couches, and 
feast by the fireside, passing round the winecup, while their 
wheel is conveniently at hand, and working at pottery only 
as much as they like ; in this way we might make every class 
happy and then, as you imagine, the whole State would 
be happy. But do not put this idea into our heads ; for, 
if we listen to you, the husbandman will be no longer a 421 
husbandman, the potter will cease to be a potter, and no one 
will have the character of any distinct class in the State. 
Now this is not of much consequence where the corruption 
of society, and pretension to be what you are not, is confined 
to cobblers ; but when the guardians of the laws and of the 
government are only seeming and not real guardians, then 
see how they turn the State upside down ; and on the other 
hand they alone have the power of giving order and happiness 
to the State. We mean our guardians to be true saviours 
and not the destroyers of the State, whereas our opponent is 
thinking of peasants at a festival, who are enjoying a life 
of revelry, not of citizens who are doing their duty to the 
State. But, if so, we mean different things, and he is 

Two sources of evil: ^Wealth and Poverty. 109 

speaking of something which is not a State. And therefore Republic 
we must consider whether in appointing our guardians we V ' 
would look to their greatest happiness individually, or whether 
this principle of happiness does not rather reside in the 
State as a whole. But if the latter be the truth, then the 
guardians and auxiliaries, and all others equally with them, 
must be compelled or induced to do their own work in the 
best way. And thus the whole State will grow up in a noble 
order, and the several classes will receive the proportion 
of happiness which nature assigns to them. 

I think that you are quite right. 

I wonder whether you will agree with another remark 
which occurs to me. 

What may that be ? 

There seem to be two causes of the deterioration of the 

What are they ? 

Wealth, I said, and poverty. 

How do they act ? 

The process is as follows : When a potter becomes rich, When an 
will he, think you, any longer take the same pains with ^^ rich 

his art ? he becomes 

Certainly not. 

He will grow more and more indolent and careless ? poor, 

Very true. has no 

And the result will be that he becomes a worse potter ? b^toois 
Yes ; he greatly deteriorates. with. The 

But, on the other hand, if he has no money, and cannot be^ndthe^ 

provide himself with tools or instruments, he will not work poor nor 

equally well himself, nor will he teach his sons or apprentices nch> 

to work equally well. 
Certainly not. 
Then, under the influence either of poverty or of wealth, 

workmen and their work are equally liable to degenerate ? 
That is evident. 
Here, then, is a discovery of new evils, I said, against 

which the guardians will have to watch, or they will creep 

into the city unobserved. 

What evils ? 
422 Wealth, I said, and poverty; the one is the parent of 


Can o^lr State go to war with other States 




But how, 
being poor, 
can she 
against a 

Our wiry 
will be 
more than 
a match for 
their fat 

And they 
will have 
allies who 
will readily 
join on con- 
dition of 
the spoil. 

luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and vicious- 
ness, and both of discontent. 

That is very true, he replied ; but still I should like to 
know, Socrates, how our city will be able to go to war, 
especially against an enemy who is rich and powerful, if 
deprived of the sinews of war. 

There would certainly be a difficulty, I replied, in going to 
war with one such enemy; but there is no difficulty where 
there are two of them. 

How so ? he asked. 

In the first place, I said, if we have to fight, our side will 
be trained warriors fighting against an army of rich men. 

That is true, he said. 

And do you not suppose, Adeimantus, that a single boxer 
who was perfect in his art would easily be a match for two 
stout and well-to-do gentlemen who were not boxers ? 

Hardly, if they came upon him at once. 

What, not, I said, if he were able to run away and then 
turn and strike at the one who first came up ? And sup- 
posing he were to do this several times under the heat of a 
scorching sun, might he not, being an expert, overturn more 
than one stout personage ? 

Certainly, he said, there would be nothing wonderful in 

And yet rich men probably have a greater superiority in 
the science and practise of boxing than they have in military 

Likely enough. 

Then we may assume that our athletes will be able to fight 
with two or three times their own number ? 

I agree with you, for I think you right. 

And suppose that, before engaging, our citizens send an 
embassy to one of the two cities, telling them what is the 
truth : Silver and gold we neither have nor are permitted to 
have, but you may ; do you therefore come and help us in 
war, and take the spoils of the other city : Who, on hearing 
these words, would choose to fight against lean wiry dogs, 
rather than, with the dogs on their side, against fat and 
tender sheep ? 

That is not likely ; and yet there might be a danger to the 

The proper size of the State. 1 1 1 

poor State if the wealth of many States were to be gathered 

nto one. 

But how simple of you to use the term State at all of any 
but our own ! 

Why so ? 

You ought to speak of other States in the plural number ; But many 
not one of them is a city, but many cities, as they say in the ^JJ ^ ? 
game. For indeed any city, however small, is in fact divided No : they 
into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; these 
423 are at war with one another ; and in either there are many selves. 
smaller divisions, and you would be altogether beside the mark 
if you treated them all as a single State. But if you deal with Many 
them as many, and give the wealth or power or persons of the 
one to the others, you will always have a great many friends 
and not many enemies. And your State, while the wise order 
which has now been prescribed continues to prevail in her, 
will be the greatest of States, I do not mean to say in reputa- 
tion or appearance, but in deed and truth, though she number 
not more than a thousand defenders. A single State which 
is her equal you will hardly find, either among Hellenes or 
barbarians, though many that appear to be as great and many 
times greater. 

That is most true, he said. 

And what, I said, will be the best limit for our rulers to fix The limit 
when they are considering the size of the State and the to , thesize 

~ . of the State 

amount of territory which they are to include, and beyond the possi- 
which they will not go ? bilu y of 

What limit would you propose ? 

I would allow the State to increase so far as is consistent 
with unity; that, I think, is the proper limit. 

Very good, he said. 

Here then, I said, is another order which will have to be 
conveyed to our guardians : Let our city be accounted neither 
large nor small, but one and self-sufficing. 

And surely, said he, this is not a very severe order which 
we impose upon them. 

And the other, said I, of which we were speaking before is The duty 
lighter still, I mean the duty of degrading the offspring of p fad J ust :. 
the guardians when inferior, and of elevating into the rank of Z ens to the 
guardians the offspring of the lower classes, when naturally rank for 


Education the one great principle. 



which na- 
ture in- 

Good edu- 
cation has 
a cumula- 
tive force 
and affects 
the breed. 

No innova- 
tions to be 
made either 
in music or 


superior. The intention was, that, in the case of the citizens 
generally, each individual should be put to the use for which 
nature intended him, one to one work, and then every man 
would do his own business, and be one and not many; ajid 
so the whole city would be one and not many. 

Yes, he said ; that is not so difficult. 

The regulations which we are prescribing, my good Adei- 
mantus, are not, as might be supposed, a number of great 
principles, but trifles all, if care be taken, as the saying is, of 
the one great thing, a thing, however, which I would rather 
call, not, great, but sufficient for our purpose. 

What may that be ? he asked. 

Education, I said, and nurture : If our citizens are well 
educated, and grow into sensible men, they will easily see 
their way through all these, as well as other matters which I 
omit; such, for example, as marriage, the possession of 
women and the procreation of children, which will all follow 424 
the general principle that friends have all things in common, 
as the proverb says. 

That will be the best way of settling them. 

Also, I said, the State, if once started well, moves with 
accumulating force like a wheel. For good nurture and edu- 
cation implant good constitutions, and these good constitutions 
taking root in a good education improve more and more, and 
this improvement affects the breed in man as in other 

Very possibly, he said. 

Then to sum up : This is the point to which, above all, the 
attention of our rulers should be directed, that music and 
gymnastic be preserved in their original form, and no innova- 
tion made. They must do their utmost to maintain them 
intact. And when any one says that mankind most regard 
'The newest song which the singers have 1 / 

they will be afraid that he may be praising, not new songs, 
but a new kind of song ; and this ought not to be praised, or 
conceived to be the meaning of the poet; for any musical 
innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to 
be prohibited. So Damon tells me, and I can quite believe 

Od. i. 352. 

The growth of licence. 1 1 3 

him ; he says that when modes of music change, the fimda- Republic 
mental laws of the State always change with them. 

Yes, said Adeimantus; and you may add my suffrage to SocRATES > 


Damon s and your own. 

Then, I said, our guardians must lay the foundations of 
their fortress in music ? 

Yes, he said ; the lawlessness of which you speak too 
easily steals in. 

Yes, I replied, in the form of amusement; and at first 
sight it appears harmless. 

Why, yes, he said, and there is no harm ; were it not that The spirit 
little by little this spirit of licence, finding a home, impercep- ^g^ 55 " 
tibly penetrates into manners and customs ; whence, issuing ginning in 
with greater force, it invades contracts between man and man, music 
and from contracts goes on to laws and constitutions, in utter 
recklessness, ending at last, Socrates, by an overthrow of all the whole 
rights, private as well as public. 

Is that true ? I said. 

That is my belief, he replied* 

Then, as I was saying, our youth should be trained from 
the first in a stricter system, for if amusements become lawless, 
42 s and the youths themselves become lawless, they can never 
grow up into well-conducted and virtuous citizens. 

Very true, he said. 

And when they have made a good beginning in play, and The habit 
by the help of music have gained the habit of good order, J^^f ^ 
then this habit of order, in a manner how unlike the lawless education, 
play of the others ! will accompany them in all their actions 
and be a principle of growth to them, and if there be any 
fallen places in the State will raise them up again". 

Very true, he said. 

Thus educated, they will invent for themselves any lesser if the citi- 
rules which their predecessors have altogether neglected. zens have 

the root of 

What do you mean ? the matter 

I mean such things as these : when the young are to be in them 

silent before their elders ; how they are to show respect to supp^the 

them by standing and making them sit ; what honour is due details for 

to parents ; what garments or shoes are to be worn ; the l 
mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in 
general. You would agree with me ? 

H4 l Neque vitia neque remedia eoruml 

Republic Yes. 

IV ' But there is, I think, small wisdom in legislating about 

SOCRATES, sucn ma tters, I doubt if it is ever done : nor are any precise 


written enactments about them likely to be lasting. 

It would seem, Adeimantus, that the direction in which 
education starts a man, will determine his future life. Does 
not like always attract like ? 
To be sure. 

Until some one rare and grand result is reached which 
may be good, and may be the reverse of good ? 
That is not to be denied. 

And for this reason, I said, I shall not attempt to legislate 
further about them. 

Naturally enough, he replied. 

The mere Well, and about the business of the agora, and the ordi- 

admhris f narv dealings between man and man, or again about agree- 

tration may ments with artisans ; about insult and injury, or the 

be omitted commencement of actions, and the appointment of juries, 

what would you say ? there may also arise questions about 

any impositions and exactions of market and harbour dues 

which may be required, and in general about the regulations 

of markets, police, harbours, and the like. But, oh heavens ! 

shall we condescend to legislate on any of these particulars ? 

I think, he said, that there is no need to impose laws about 

them on good men ; what regulations are necessary they will 

find out soon enough for themselves. 

Yes, I said, my friend, if God will only preserve to them 
the laws which we have given them. 

And without divine help, said Adeimantus, they will go on 
for ever making and mending their laws and their lives in the 
hope of attaining perfection. 

illustration You would compare them, I said, to those invalids who, 
formers of nav ^ n S no self-restraint, will not leave off their habits of in- 
the law temperance ? 

hSs m Exactl y- 

who are Yes, I said ; and what a delightful life they lead ! they are 426 

always always doctoring and increasing and complicating their dis- 

themseives, OI "ders, and always fancying that they will be cured by any 

but will nostrum which anybody advises them to try. 

Cutting' off the heads of a hydra. 115 

Such cases are very common, he said, with invalids of this Republic 
sort. IV ' 

Yes, I replied ; and the charming thing is that they deem 
him their worst enemy who tells them the truth, which is 

* never listen 

simply that, unless they give up eating and drinking and to the 
\venching and idling, neither drug nor cautery nor spell nor truth - 
amulet nor any other remedy will avail. 

Charming ! he replied. I see nothing charming in going 
into a passion with a man who tells you what is right. 

These gentlemen, I said, do not seem to be in your good 
graces. * . 

Assuredly not. 

Nor would you praise the behaviour of States which act 
like the men whom I was just now describing. For are there 
not ill-ordered States in which the citizens are forbidden 
under pain of death to alter the constitution ; and yet he who 
most sweetly courts those who live under this regime and 
indulges them and fawns upon them and is skilful in 
anticipating and gratifying their humours is held to be a 
great and good statesman do not these States resemble 
the persons whom I was describing? 

Yes, he said ; the States are as bad as the men ; and I am 
very far from praising them. 

But do you not admire, I said, the coolness and dexterity 
of these ready ministers of political corruption ? 

Yes, he said, I do ; but not of all of them, for there are Dema- 
some whom the applause of the multitude has deluded into &s ues . 
the belief that they are really statesmen, and these are not hands at 
much to be admired. legislation 

What do you mean ? I said ; you should have more feeling Reused 
for them. When a man cannot measure, and a great many for their 
others who cannot measure declare that he is four cubits ^ l ^ nc 
high, can he help believing what they say ? world. 

Nay, he said, certainly not in that case. 

Well, then, do not be angry with them; for are they not 
as good as a play, trying their hand at paltry reforms 
such as I was describing ; they are always fancying that 
by legislation they will make an end of frauds in contracts, 
and the other rascalities which I was mentioning, not know- 
ing that they are in reality cutting off the heads of a hydra ? 

I 2 

1 1 6 Where is justice ? 

Republic Yes, he said ; that is just what they ar 
I conceive, I said, that the true legisl 
SOCRATES, himself with this class of enactments whether concerning 


Republic Yes, he said ; that is just what they are doing. 427 

I conceive, I said, that the true legislator will not trouble 

laws or the constitution either in an ill-ordered or in a well- 
ordered State ; for in the former they are quite useless, and 
in the latter there will be no difficulty in devising them; 
and many of them will naturally flow out of our previous 

What, then, he said, is still remaining to us of the work of 
legislation ? 

Nothing to us, I replied ; but to* Apollo, the god of Delphi, 
there remains the ordering of the greatest and noblest and 
chiefest things of all. 

Which are they ? he said. 

Religion to The institution of temples and sacrifices, and the entire 

AeGodof serv i ce f gds, demigods, and heroes ; also the ordering 

Delphi. of the repositories of the dead, and the rites which have 

to be observed by him who would propitiate the inhabitants 

of the world below. These are matters of which we are 

ignorant ourselves, and as founders of a city we should be 

unwise in trusting them to any interpreter but our ancestral 

deity. He is the god who sits in the centre, on the navel 

of the earth, and he is the interpreter of religion to all 


You are right, and we will do as you propose. 

But where, amid all this, is justice ? son of Ariston, tell 
me where. Now that our city has been made habitable, 
light a candle and search, and get your brother and Pole- 
marchus and the rest of our friends to help, and let us 
see where in it we can discover justice and where injustice, 
and in what they differ from one another, and which of them 
the man who would be happy should have for his portion, 
whether seen or unseen by gods and men. 

Nonsense, said Glaucon : did you not promise to search 
yourself, saying that for you not to help justice in her need 
would be an impiety? 

I do not deny that I said so ; and as you remind me, I will 
J>e as good as my word ; but you must join. 

We will, he replied. 

Well, then, I hope to make the discovery in this way: 

The method of residues. 1 1 7 

I mean to begin with the assumption that our State, if rightly Republic 
ordered, is perfect. IV ' 

That is most certain. SOCRATES, 


And being perfect, is therefore wise and valiant and tem- 
perate and just. 

That is likewise clear. 

And whichever of these qualities we find in the State, the 
one which is not found will be the residue ? 
428 Very good. 

If there were four things, and we were searching for one 
of them, wherever it might be, the one sought for might be 
known to us from the first, and there would be no further 
trouble ; or we might know the other three first, and then the 
fourth would clearly be the one left. 

Very true, he said. 

And is not a similar method to be pursued about the virtues, 
which are also four in number ? 


First among the virtues found in the State, wisdom comes The place 
into view, and in this I detect a certain peculiarity. Virtues in 

What is that ? the state : 

The State which we have been describing is said to be ^ Th ^ ls " 

dom of the 

wise as being good in counsel ? statesman 

Very true. advises, not 

And good counsel is clearly a kind of knowledge, for not Scidararts 
by ignorance, but by knowledge, do men counsel well ? or pursuits, 


And the kinds of knowledge in a State are many and 
diverse ? 

Of course. 

There is the knowledge of the carpenter ; but is that the 
sort of knowledge which gives a city the title of wise and 
good in counsel? 

Certainly not ; that would only give a city the reputation 
of skill in carpentering. 

Then a city is not to be called wise because possessing 
a knowledge which counsels for the best about wooden 
implements ? 

Certainly not. 

Nor by reason of a knowledge which advises about brazen 


The nature (i) of wisdom, (2) of courage. 



but about 
the whole 

The states- 
men or 
are the 
smallest of 
all classes 
in the State. 

pots, he said, nor as possessing any other similar know 
ledge ? 

Not by reason of any of them, he said. 

Nor yet by reason of a knowledge which cultivates the 
earth ; that would give the city the name of agricultural ? 


Well, I said, and is there any knowledge in our recently- 
founded State among any of the citizens which advises, not 
about any particular thing in the State, but about the whole, 
and considers how a State can best deal with itself and with 
other States ? 

There certainly is. 

And what js this knowledge, and among whom is it found ? 
I asked. 

It is the knowledge of the guardians, he replied, and is 
found among those whom we were just now describing as 
perfect guardians. 

And what is the name which the city derives from the 
possession of this sort of knowledge ? 

The name of good in counsel and truly wise. 

And will there be in our city more of these true guardians 
or more smiths ? 

The smiths, he replied, will be far more numerous. 

Will not the guardians be the smallest of all the classes 
who receive a name from the profession of some kind of 
knowledge ? 

Much the smallest. 

And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the 
knowledge which resides in this presiding and ruling part of 
itself, the whole State, being thus constituted according 
to nature, will be wise ; and this, which has the only know- 429 
ledge worthy to be called wisdom, has been ordained by 
nature to be of all classes the least. 

Most true. 

Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of 
one of the four virtues has somehow or other been dis- 

And, in my humble opinion, very satisfactorily discovered, 
he replied. 

Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of 

The nature of courage. 119 

courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the Republic 
name of courageous to the State. IV ' 

How do you mean ? SOCRATES, 

Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or 
cowardly, will be thinking of the part which fights and goes courage 
out to war on the State's behalf. which 

No one, he replied, would ever think of any other. city cou . 

The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be rageous 
cowardly, but their courage or cowardice will not, as I con- J^[^ n f n 
ceive, have the effect of making the city either the one or the the soldier. 

Certainly not. 

The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of her- it is the 
self which preserves under all circumstances that opinion JJJ^ y re _ 
about the nature of things to be feared and not to be feared serves right 
in which our legislator educated them ; and this is what you o n 
term courage. things to 

I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I be feared 

i t i , T f i i an d not to 

do not think that I perfectly understand you. be feared. 

I mean that courage is a kind of salvation. 

Salvation of what ? 

Of the opinion respecting things to be feared, what they 
are and of what nature, which the law implants through 
education ; and I mean by the words ' under all circumstances ' 
to intimate that in pleasure or in pain, or under the influence 
of desire or fear, a man preserves, and does not lose this 
opinion. Shall I give you an illustration ? 

If you please. 

You know, I said, that dyers, when they want to dye wool Illustration 
for making the true sea-purple, begin by selecting their white 
colour first ; this they prepare and dress with much care and ing. 
pains, in order that the white ground may take the purple hue 
in full perfection. The dyeing then proceeds ; and whatever 
is dyed in this manner becomes a fast colour, and no washing 
either with lyes or without them can take away the bloom. 
But, when the ground has not been duly prepared, you will 
have noticed how poor is the look either of purple or of any 
other colour. 

Yes, he said ; I know that they have a washed-out and 
ridiculous appearance. 


Temperance, or the mastery of self. 



Our sol- 
diers must 
take the 
dye of the 

Two other 
and justice, 
which must 
be con- 
sidered in 
their proper 

Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was 
in selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and 43 
gymnastic ; we were contriving influences which would prepare 
them to take the dye of the laws in perfection, and the colour 
of their opinion about dangers and of every other opinion 
was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not to 
be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure mightier 
agent far in washing the soul than any soda or lye ; or by 
sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. 
And this sort of universal saving power of true opinion in 
conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and 
maintain to be courage, unless you disagree. 

But I agree, he replied ; for I suppose that you mean to 
exclude mere uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild 
beast or of a slave this, in your opinion, is not the courage 
which the law ordains, and ought to have another name. 

Most certainly. 

Then I may infer courage to be such as you describe ? 

Why, yes, said I, you may, and if you add the words ' of 
a citizen/ you will not be far wrong; hereafter, if you like, 
we will carry the examination further, but at present we are 
seeking not for courage but justice ; and for the purpose of 
our enquiry we have said enough. 

You are right, he replied. 

Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State first, 
temperance, and then justice which is the end of our search. 

Very true. 

Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about 
temperance ? 

I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor 
do I desire that justice should be brought to light and temper- 
ance lost sight of; and therefore I wish that you would do 
me the favour of considering temperance first. 

Certainly, I replied, I should not be justified in refusing 
your request. 

Then consider, he said. 

Yes, I replied ; I will ; and as far as I can at present see, 
the virtue of temperance has more of the nature of harmony 
and symphony than the preceding. 

How so ? he asked. 

States, like individuals, may be temperate. 121 

Temperance, I replied, is the ordering or controlling of Republic 
certain pleasures and desires; this is curiously enough im- 

plied in the saying of ' a man being his own master ; ' and 
other traces of the same notion may be found in language. 

No doubt, he said. 

There is something ridiculous in the expression ' master of The tem- 
431 himself;' for the master is also the servant and the servant jJJ^rof 
the master; and in all these modes of speaking the same himself, but 
person is denoted. the same 

_ person, 

Certainly. when in- 

The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is temperate, 
a better and also a worse principle ; and when the better has 

the worse under control, then a man is said to be master of himself. 
himself; and this is a term of praise : but when, owing to evil 
education or association, the better principle, which is also 
the smaller, is overwhelmed by the greater mass of the worse 
in this case he is blamed and is called the slave of self and 

Yes, there is reason in that. 

And now, I said, look at our newly-created State, and there 
you will find one of these two conditions realized ; for the 
State, as you will acknowledge, may be justly called master 
of itself, if the words * temperance ' and ' self-mastery ' truly 
express the rule of the better part over the worse. 

Yes, he said, I see that what you say is true. 

Let me further note that the manifold and complex 
pleasures and desires and pains are generally found in 
children and women and servants, and in the freemen so 
called who are of the lowest and more numerous class. 

Certainly, he said. 

Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow 
reason, and are under the guidance of mind and true opinion, 
are to be found only in a few, and those the best born and 
best educated. 

Very true. 

These two, as you may perceive, have a place in our State ; The State 
and the meaner desires of the many are held down by the ^ ich has 
virtuous desires and wisdom of the few. sions and 

That I perceive, he said. desires of 

Then if there be any city which may be described as controlled 


Temperance in States is the harmony of classes. 



by the few 
may be 
called tem- 

ance re- 
sides in 
the whole 

Justice is 
not far off. 

master of its own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, 
ours may claim such a designation ? 

Certainly, he replied. 

It may also be called temperate, and for the same reasons ? 


And if there be any State in which rulers and subjects will 
be agreed as to the question who are to rule, that again will 
be our State ? 


And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in 
which class will temperance be found in the rulers or in 
the subjects ? 

In both, as I should imagine, he replied. 

Do you observe that we were not far wrong in our guess 
that temperance was a sort of harmony ? 

Why so? 

Why, because temperance is unlike courage and wisdom, 
each of which resides in a part only, the one making the 
State wise and the other valiant ; not so temperance, which 432 
extends to the whole, and runs through all the notes of the 
scale, and produces a harmony of the weaker and the 
stronger and the middle class, whether you suppose them 
to be stronger or weaker in wisdom or power or numbers 
or wealth, or anything else. Most truly then may we deem 
temperance to be the agreement of the naturally superior and 
inferior, as to the right to rule of either, both in states and 

I entirely agree with you. 

And so, I said, we may consider three out of the four 
virtues to have been discovered in our State. The last of 
those qualities which make a state virtuous must be justice, 
if we only knew what that was. 

The inference is obvious. 

The time then has arrived, Glaucon, when, like huntsmen, 
we should surround the cover, and look sharp that justice 
does not steal away, and pass out of sight and escape us ; for 
beyond a doubt she is somewhere in this country: watch 
therefore and strive to catch a sight of her, and if you see 
her first, let me know. 

Would that I could ! but you should regard me rather as 

Justice is every man doing his own business. 123 

a follower who has just eyes enough to see what you show Republic 
him that is about as much as I am good for. 

Offer up a prayer with me and follow. SOCRATES, 


I will, but you must show me the way. 

Here is no path, I said, and the wood is dark and per- 
plexing ; still we must push on. 

Let us push on. 

Here I saw something : Halloo ! I said, I begin to perceive 
a track, and I believe that the quarry will not escape. 

Good news, he said. 

Truly, I said, we are stupid fellows. 

Why so? 

Why, my good sir, at the beginning of our enquiry, ages 
ago, there was justice tumbling out at our feet, and we never 
saw her; nothing could be more ridiculous. Like people 
who go about looking for what they have in their hands 
that was the way with us we looked not at what we were 
seeking, but at what was far off in the distance; and 
therefore, I suppose, we missed her. 

What do you mean ? 

I mean to say that in reality for a long time past we have 
been talking of justice, and have failed to recognise her. 

I grow impatient at the length of your exordium. 

433 Well then, tell me, I said, whether I am right or not : You We had 
remember the original principle which we were always laying jj^^ 
down at the foundation of the State, that one man should w hen we 
practise one thing only, the thing to which his nature was s P ke of 
best adapted ; now justice is this principle or a part of it. doing one 

Yes, we often said that one man should do one thing only, thing only. 

Further, we affirmed that justice was doing one's own 
business, and not being a busybody; we said so again and 
again, and many others have said the same to us. 

Yes, we said so. 

Then to do one's own business in a certain way may be 
assumed to be justice. Can you tell me whence I derive this 
inference ? 

I cannot, but I should like to be told. 

Because I think that this is the only virtue which remains From 
in the State when the other virtues of temperance and courage an ? ther 
and wisdom are abstracted; and, that this is the ultimate viewjustice 


The four virtues in relation to the State. 



is the resi- 
due of 
the three 

Our idea is 
by the ad- 
tion of jus- 
tice in law- 
suits. No 
man is to 
have what . 
is not his 


cause and condition of the existence of all of them, and while 
remaining in them is also their preservative ; and we were 
saying that if the three were discovered by us, justice would 
be the fourth or remaining one. 

That follows of necessity. 

If we are asked to determine which of these four qualities 
by its presence contributes most to the excellence of the 
State, whether the agreement of rulers and subjects, or the 
preservation in the soldiers of the opinion which the law 
ordains about the true nature of dangers, or wisdom and 
watchfulness in the rulers, or whether this other which I 
am mentioning, and which is found in children and women, 
slave and freeman, artisan, ruler, subject, the quality, I 
mean, of every one doing his own work, and not being a 
busybody, would claim the palm the question is not so easily 

Certainly, he replied, there would be a difficulty in saying 

Then the power of each individual in the State to do his 
own work appears to compete with the other political virtues, 
wisdom, temperance, courage. 

Yes, he said. 

And the virtue which enters into this competition is 
justice ? 


Let us look at the question from another point of view : 
Are not the rulers in a State those to whom you would 
entrust the office of determining suits at law ? 


And are suits decided on any other ground but that a man 
may neither take what is another's, nor be deprived of what 
is his own ? 

Yes ; that is their principle. 

Which is a just principle ? 


Then on this view also justice will be admitted to be the 
having and doing what is a man's own, and belongs to him ? 

Very true. 434 

Think, now, and say whether you agree with me or not. 
Suppose a carpenter to be doing the business of a cobbler, 

The just man and the just Stale. 125 

or a cobbler of a carpenter ; and suppose them to exchange Republic 
their implements or their duties, or the same person to be 

doing the work of both, or whatever be the change ; do you 

think that any great harm would result to the State ? ljke . d . 

Not much. viduals, 

But when the cobbler or any other man whom nature sho ^not 
designed to be a trader, having his heart lifted up by wealth with one 
or strength or the number of his followers, or any like ad- another>s 
vantage, attempts to force his way into the class of warriors, Sansf* 
or a warrior into that of legislators and guardians, for which 
he is unfitted, and either to take the implements or the duties 
of the other; or when one man is trader, legislator, and 
warrior all in one, then I think you will agree with me in 
saying that this interchange and this meddling of one with 
another is the ruin of the State. 

Most true. 

Seeing then, I said, that there are three distinct classes, 
any meddling of one with another, or the change of one into 
another, is the greatest harm to the State, and may be most 
justly termed evil-doing ? 


And the greatest degree of evil-doing to one's own city 
would be termed by you injustice ? 


This then is injustice; and on the other hand when the 
trader, the auxiliary, and the guardian each do their own 
business, that is justice, and will make the city just. 

I agree with you. 

We will not, I said, be over-positive as yet ; but if, on trial, From the 
this Conception of justice be verified in the individual as well ^phjof" 
as in the State, there will be no longer any room for doubt ; the state 
if it be not verified, we must have a fresh enquiry. First let we wiu 

' f . . nowreturn 

us complete the old investigation, which we began, as you totheindi- 
remember, under the impression that, if we could previously 
examine justice on the larger scale, there would be less 
difficulty in discerning her in the individual. That larger 
example appeared to be the State, and accordingly we con- 
structed as good a one as we could, knowing well that in the 
good State justice would be found. Let the discovery which 
we made be now applied to the individual if they agree, 


The same principles guide individual and State. 




How can 
we decide 
whether or 
no the soul 
has three 
principles ? 

method is 
and for a 
better and 
longer one 
we have not 
at present 

we shall be satisfied; or, if there be a difference in the 
individual, we will come back to the State and have another 
trial of the theory. The friction of the two when rubbed 435 
together may possibly strike a light in which justice will 
shine forth, and the vision which is then revealed we will 
fix in our souls. 

That will be in regular course ; let us do as you say. 

I proceeded to ask : When two things, a greater and less, 
are called by the same name, are they like or unlike in so far 
as they are called the same ? 

Like, he replied. 

The just man then, if we regard the idea of justice only, 
will be like the just State? 

He will. 

And a State was thought by us to be just when the three 
classes in the State severally did their own business ; and 
also thought to be temperate and valiant and wise by 
reason of certain other affections and qualities of these same 
classes ? 

True, he said. 

And so of the individual ; we may assume that he has the 
same three principles in his own soul which are found in 
the State ; and he may be rightly described in the same 
terms, because he is affected in the same manner ? 

Certainly, he said. 

Once more then, O my friend, we have alighted upon an 
easy question whether the soul has these three principles 
or not ? 

An easy question ! Nay, rather, Socrates, the proverb 
holds that hard is the good. 

Very true, I said ; and I do not think that the method 
which we are employing is at all adequate to the accurate 
solution of this question ; the true method is another and a 
longer one. Still we may arrive at a solution not below the 
level of the previous enquiry. 

May we not be satisfied with that ? he said ; under the 
circumstances, I am quite content. 

I too, I replied, shall be extremely well satisfied. 

Then faint not in pursuing the speculation, he said. 

Must we not acknowledge, I said, that in each of us there 

Are these principles one or many? 127 

are the same principles and habits which there are in the Republic 

State ; and that from the individual they pass into the 

State ? how else can they come there ? Take the quality SOCRATES, 

w -L j GLAUCON. 

of passion or spirit; it would be ridiculous to imagine 
that this quality, when found in States, is not derived from 
the individuals who are supposed to possess it, e. g. the 
Thracians, Scythians, and in general the northern nations ; 
and the same may be said of the love of knowledge, which is 
the special characteristic of our part of the world, or of the 
436 love of money, which may, with equal truth, be attributed to 
the Phoenicians and Egyptians. 

Exactly so, he said. 

There is no difficulty in understanding this. 

None whatever. 

But the question is not quite so easy when we proceed Adigres- 
to ask whether these principles are three or one ; whether, ^ciTan 
that is to say, we learn with one part of our nature, are attempt is 
angry with another, and with a third part desire the satis- mad . e to 
faction of our natural appetites ; or whether the whole soul logical 
comes into play in each sort of action to determine that is clearness. 
the difficulty. 

Yes, he said ; there lies the difficulty. 

Then let us now try and determine whether they are the 
same or different. 

How can we? he asked. 

I replied as follows : The same thing clearly cannot act The cri- 
or be acted upon in the same part or in relation to the same ten n L 

truth : No- 
thing at the same time, in contrary ways ; and therefore thing can 

whenever this contradiction occurs in things apparently the be and not 

J , be at the 

same, we know that they are really not the same, but same time 
different. in the same 


For example, I said, can the same thing be at rest and in 
motion at the same time in the same part ? 


Still, I said, let us have a more precise statement of terms, 
lest we should hereafter fall out by the way. Imagine the 
case of a man who is standing and also moving his hands 
and his head, and suppose a person to say that one and 
the same person is in motion and at rest at the same moment 


The nature of contraries. 



tion of 
to this ' law 
of thought.' 

Likes and 
exist in 

to such a mode of speech we should object, and should 
rather say that one part of him is in motion while another is 
at rest. 

Very true. 

And suppose the objector to refine still further, and to 
draw the nice distinction that not only parts of tops, but 
whole tops, when they spin round with their pegs fixed on 
the spot, are at rest and in motion at the same time (and he 
may say the same of anything which revolves in the same 
spot), his objection would not be admitted by us, because 
in such cases things are not at rest and in motion in the 
same parts of themselves ; we should rather say that they 
have both an axis and a circumference ; and that the axis 
stands still, for there is no deviation from the perpen- 
dicular; and that the circumference goes round. But if, 
while revolving, the axis inclines either to the right or left, 
forwards or backwards, then in no point of view can they 
be at rest. 

That is the correct mode of describing them, he replied. 

Then none of these objections will confuse us, or incline 
us to believe that the same thing at the same time, in the 
same part or in relation to the same thing, can act or be 437 
acted upon in contrary ways. 

Certainly not, according to my way of thinking. 

Yet, I said, that we may not be compelled to examine all 
such objections, and prove at length that they are untrue, let 
us assume their absurdity, and go forward on the under- 
standing that hereafter,, if this assumption turn out to be 
untrue, all the consequences which follow shall be with- 

Yes, he said, that will be the best way. 

Well, I said, would you not allow that assent and dissent, 
desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion, are all of them 
opposites, whether they are regarded as active' or passive 
(for that makes no difference in the fact of their opposition) ? 

Yes, he said, they are opposites. 

Well, I said, and hunger and thirst, and the desires in 
general, and again willing and wishing, all these you would 
refer to the classes already mentioned. You would say 
would you not ? that the soul of him who desires is seeking 

Relative terms. 129 

after the object of his desire ; or that he is drawing to himself Republic 
the thing which he wishes to possess : or again, when a IV ' 
person wants anything to be given him, his mind, longing for SOCRATES, 
the realization of his desire, intimates his wish to have it by 
a nod of assent, as if he had been asked a question ? 

Very true. 

And what would you say of unwillingness and dislike and 
the absence of desire ; should not these be referred to the 
opposite class of repulsion and rejection ? 


Admitting this to be true of desire generally, let us suppose 
a particular class of desires, and out of these we will select 
hunger and thirst, as they are termed, which are the most 
obvious of them ? 

Let us take that class, he said. 

The object of one is food, and of the other drink? 


And here comes the point : is not thirst the desire which There may 
the soul has of drink, and of drink only; not of drink qualified ^^ le 
by anything else ; for example, warm or cold, or much or qualified 
little, or, in a word, drink of any particular sort : but if the * hir f t( 
thirst be accompanied by heat, then the desire is of cold spectivety a 
drink ; or, if accompanied by cold, then of warm drink ; or, simple or 
if the thirst be excessive, then the drink which is desired will object! * 
be excessive ; or, if not great, the quantity of drink will also 
be small : but thirst pure and simple will desire drink pure 
and simple, which is the natural satisfaction of thirst, as food 
is of hunger ? 

Yes, he said ; the simple desire is, as you say, in every 
case of the simple object, and the qualified desire of the 
qualified object. 

438 But here a confusion may arise ; and I should wish to Exception : 
guard against an opponent starting up and saying that no ^f/ 6 " 11 
man desires drink only, but good drink, or food only, but presses, not 
good food ; for good is the universal object of desire, and a P articu - 

, . , i . .,1 .'. ^ , !ar, but an 

thirst being a desire, will necessarily be thirst after good universal 
drink ; and the same is true of every other desire. relation. 

Yes, he replied, the opponent might have something to 

Nevertheless I should still maintain, that of relatives some 



Simple and compound terms. 



of the argu- 
ment from 
the use of 
about cor- 


tion of a 

have a quality attached to either term of the relation ; others 
are simple and have their correlatives simple. 

I do not know what you mean. 

Well, you know of course that the greater is relative to the 


And the much greater to the much less ? 


And the sometime greater to the sometime less, and the 
greater that is to be to the less that is to be ? 

Certainly, he said. 

And so of more and less, and of other correlative terms, 
such as the double and the half, or again, the heavier and the 
lighter, the swifter and the slower ; and of hot and cold, and 
of any other relatives ; is not this true of all of them ? 


And does not the same principle hold in the sciences? 
The object of science is knowledge (assuming that to be the 
true definition), but the object of a particular science is a 
particular kind of knowledge ; I mean, for example, that the 
science of house-building is a kind of knowledge which is 
defined and distinguished from other kinds and is therefore 
termed architecture. 


Because it has a particular quality which no other has ? 


And it has this particular quality because it has an object 
of a particular kind ; and this is true of the other arts and 
sciences ? 


Now, then, if I have made myself clear, you will under- 
stand my original meaning in what I said about relatives. 
My meaning was, that if one term of a relation is taken alone, 
the other is taken alone ; if one term is qualified, the other 
is also qualified. I do not mean to say that relatives may 
not be disparate, or that the science of health is healthy, or 
of disease necessarily diseased, or that the sciences of good 
and evil are therefore good and evil ; but only that, when the 
term science is no longer used absolutely, but has a qualified 
object which in this case is the nature of health and disease, 

The first have simple, the second qualified objects. 131 

it becomes defined, and is hence called not merely science, Republic 
but the science of medicine. IV - 

I quite understand, and I think as you do. SOCRATES, 


439 Would you not say that thirst is one of these essentially 
relative terms, having clearly a relation 

Yes, thirst is relative to drink. 

And a certain kind of thirst is relative to a certain kind of 
drink ; but thirst taken alone is neither of much nor little, 
nor of good nor bad, nor of any particular kind of drink, but 
of drink only ? 


Then the soul of the thirsty one, in so far as he is 
thirsty, desires only drink ; for this he yearns and tries to 
obtain it ? 

That is plain. 

And if you suppose something which pulls a thirsty soul The law of 
away from drink, that must be different from the thirsty ^ tradic " 
principle which draws him like a beast to drink ; for, as we 
were saying, the same thing cannot at the same time with the 
same part of itself act in contrary ways about the same. 


No more than you can say that the hands of the archer 
push and pull the bow at the same time, but what you say is 
that one hand pushes and the other pulls. 

Exactly so, he replied. 

And might a man be thirsty, and yet unwilling to drink ? 

Yes, he said, it constantly happens. 

And in such a case what is one to say ? Would you not 
say that there was something in the soul bidding a man to 
drink, and something else forbidding him, which is other and 
stronger than the principle which bids him ? 

I should say so. 

And the forbidding principle is derived from reason, and The oppo- 
that which bids and attracts proceeds from passion and Desire and 

disease ? reason. 


Then we may fairly assume that they are two, and that they 
differ from one another ; the one with which a man reasons, 
we may call the rational principle of the soul, the other, 
with which he loves and hungers and thirsts and feels the 

K 2 


The story of Leontius. 



The third 
principle of 
spirit or 
by an ex- 

never takes 
part with 

never felt 
by a person 
of noble 
when he 

flutterings of any other desire, may be termed the irrational 
or appetitive, the ally of sundry pleasures and satisfactions ? 

Yes, he said, we may fairly assume them to be different. 

Then let us finally determine that there are two principles 
existing in the soul. And what of passion, or spirit ? Is 
it a third, or akin to one of the preceding ? 

I should be inclined to say akin to desire. 

Well, I said, there is a story which I remember to have 
heard, and in which I put faith. The story is, that Leontius, 
the son of Aglaion, coming up one day from the Piraeus, 
under the north wall on the outside, observed some dead 
bodies lying on the ground at the place of execution. He felt a 
desire to see them, and also a dread and abhorrence of them; 
for a time he struggled and covered his eyes, but at length 440 
the desire got the better of him ; and forcing them open, he 
ran up to the dead bodies, saying, Look, ye wretches, take 
your fill of the fair sight. 

I have heard the story myself, he said. 

The moral of the tale is, that anger at times goes to war 
with desire, as though they were two distinct things. 

Yes ; that is the meaning, he said. 

And are there not many other cases in which we observe 
that when a man's desires violently prevail over his reason, 
he reviles himself, and is angry at the violence within him, 
and that in this struggle, which is like the struggle of factions 
in a State, his spirit is on the side of his reason ; but for the 
passionate or spirited element to take part with the desires 
when reason decides that she should not be opposed \ is 
a sort of thing which I believe that you never observed 
occurring in yourself, nor, as I should imagine, in any one 

Certainly not. 

Suppose that a man thinks he has done a wrong to another, 
the nobler he is the less able is he to feel indignant at any 
suffering, such as hunger, or cold, or any other pain which 
the injured person may inflict upon him these he deems to be 
just, and, as I say, his anger refuses to be excited by them. 

True, he said. 

But when he thinks that he is the sufferer of the wrong, 

1 Reading ^ fetv avnirpdrrfiv, without a comma after 5e*V. 

Passion or spirit opposed to desire. 133 

then he boils and chafes, and is on the side of what he Republic 
believes to be justice ; and because he suffers hunger or cold 
or other pain he is only the more determined to persevere and 
conquer. His noble spirit will not be quelled until he either 
slays or is slain ; or until he hears the voice of the shepherd, 
that is, reason, bidding his dog bark no more. 

The illustration is perfect, he replied ; and in our State, as 
we were saying, the auxiliaries were to be dogs, and to hear 
the voice of the rulers, who are their shepherds. 

I perceive, I said, that you quite understand me ; there is, 
however, a further point which I wish you to consider. 

What point ? 

You remember that passion or spirit appeared at first sight 
to be a kind of desire, but now we should say quite the con- 
trary; for in the conflict of the soul spirit is arrayed on the 
side of the rational principle. 

Most assuredly. 

But a further question arises : Is passion different from Not two, 
reason also, or only a kind of reason ; in which latter case, p ri nci ^ 
instead of three principles in the soul, there will only be two, in the soul, 
441 the rational and the concupiscent ; or rather, as the State was 
composed of three classes, traders, auxiliaries, counsellors, so 
may there not be in the individual soul a third element which 
is passion or spirit, and when not corrupted by bad education 
is the natural auxiliary of reason ? 

Yes, he said, there must be a third. 

Yes, I replied, if passion, which has already been shown 
to be different from desire, turn out also to be different from 

But that is easily proved : We may observe even in young 
children that they are full of spirit, almost as soon as they 
are born, whereas some of them never seem to attain to the 
use of reason, and most of them late enough. 

Excellent, I said, and you may see passion equally in brute 
animals, which is a further proof of the truth of what you are 
saying. And we may once more appeal to the words of Appeal to 
Homer, which have been already quoted by us, 

'He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul 1 ;' 

1 Od. xx. 17, quoted supra, III. 390 D. 


The individual like the State. 



The con- 
clusion that 
the same 
three prin- 
ciples exist 
both in the 
State and 
in the indi- 
vidual ap- 
plied to 
each of 

Music and 
will har- 
and reason. 
These two 
will control 

for in this verse Homer has clearly supposed the power which 
reasons about the better and worse to be different from the 
unreasoning anger which is rebuked by it. 

Very true, he said. 

And so, after much tossing, we have reached land, and are 
fairly agreed that the same principles which exist in the State 
exist also in the individual, and that they are three in 


Must we not then infer that the individual is wise in the 
same way, and in virtue of the same quality which makes the 
State wise ? 


Also that the same quality which constitutes courage in the 
State constitutes courage in the individual, and that both the 
State and the individual bear the same relation to all the 
other virtues ? 


And the individual will be acknowledged by us to be just 
in the same way in which the State is just ? 

That follows of course. 

We cannot but remember that the justice of the State con- 
sisted in each of the three classes doing the work of its own 
class ? 

We are not very likely to have forgotten, he said. 

We must recollect that the individual in whom the several 
qualities of his nature do their own work will be just, and 
will do his own work ? 

Yes, he said, we must remember that too. 

And ought not the rational principle, which is wise, and 
has the care of the whole soul, to rule, and the passionate or 
spirited principle to be the subject and ally ? 


And, as we were saying, the united influence of music and 
gymnastic will bring them into accord, nerving and sustaining 
the reason with noble words and lesso'ns, and moderating 
and soothing and civilizing the wildness of passion by 442 
harmony and rhythm? 

Quite true, he said. 

And these two, thus nurtured and educated, and having 

The alliance of passion and reason. 135 

learned truly to know their own functions, will rule * over the Republic 
concupiscent, which in each of us is the largest part of the 

soul and by nature most insatiable of gain ; over this they 
will keep guard, lest, waxing great and strong with the fulness 
of bodily pleasures, as they are termed, the concupiscent soul, 
no longer confined to her own sphere, should attempt to 
enslave and rule those who are not her natural-born subjects, 
and overturn the whole life of man ? 

Very true, he said. 

Both together will they not be the best defenders of the and will be 
whole soul and the whole body against attacks from without ; defenders 
the one counselling, and the other fighting under his leader, both of 
and courageously executing his commands and counsels ? body and 


And he is to be deemed courageous whose spirit retains The cour- 
in pleasure and in pain the commands of reason about what a s eous - 
he ought or ought not to fear ? 

Right, he replied. 

And him we call wise who has in him that little part which The wise. 
rules, and which proclaims these commands; that part too 
being supposed to have a knowledge of what is for the 
interest of each of the three parts and of the whole ? 


And would you not say that he is temperate who has these The tem- 
same elements in friendly harmony, in whom the one ruling P erate - 
principle of reason, and the two subject ones of spirit and 
desire are equally agreed that reason ought to rule, and do 
not rebel ? 

Certainly, he said, that is the true account of temperance 
whether in the State or individual. 

And surely, I said, we have explained again and again The just. 
how and by virtue of what quality a man will be just. 

That is very certain. 

And is justice dimmer in the individual, and is her form 
different, or is she the same which we found her to be in the 

1 Reading irpoffTaTfacrov with Bekker; or, if the reading 
which is found in the MSS., be adopted, then the nominative must be supplied 
from the previous sentence : ' Music and gymnastic will place in authority 
over . . .' This is very awkward, and the awkwardness is increased by the 
necessity of changing the subject at 


Justice in the individual and in the State. 



The nature 
of justice 
by com- 

We have 
realized the 
hope enter- 
tained in 
the first 
tion of the 

The three 
in one. 

There is no difference in my opinion, he said. 

Because, if any doubt is still lingering in our minds, a few 
commonplace instances will satisfy us of the truth of what I 
am saying. 

What sort of instances do you mean ? 

If the case is put to us, must we not admit that the just 
State, or the man who is trained in the principles of such a 443 
State, will be less likely than the unjust to make away with 
a deposit of gold or silver ? Would any one deny this ? 

No one, he replied. 

Will the just man or citizen ever be guilty of sacrilege or 
theft, or treachery either to his friends or to his country ? 


Neither will he ever break faith where there have been 
oaths or agreements ? 


No one will be less likely to commit adultery, or to dis- 
honour his father and mother, or to fail in his religious 
duties ? 

No one. 

And the reason is that each part of him is doing its own 
business, whether in ruling or being ruled ? 

Exactly so. 

Are you satisfied then that the quality which makes such 
men and such states is justice, or do you hope to discover 
some other ? 

Not I, indeed. 

Then our dream has been realized; and the suspicion 
which we entertained at the beginning of our work of con- 
struction, that some divine power must have conducted us to 
a primary form of justice, has now been verified ? 

Yes, certainly. 

And the division of labour which required the carpenter 
and the shoemaker and the rest of the citizens to be doing 
each his own business, and not another's, was a shadow of 
justice, and for that reason it was of use ? 


But in reality justice was such as we were describing, 
being concerned however, not with the outward man, but 
with the inward, which is the true self and concernment of 

The true conception of the. just and ^l,nj^<,st. 137 

man : for the just man does not permit the several elements Republic 

within him to interfere with one another, or any of them to 

do the work of others, he sets in order his own inner life, SOCRATES . 


and is his own master and his own law, and at peace with him- 
self; and when he has bound together the three principles The har- 
within him, which may be compared to the higher, lower, 
and middle notes of the scale, and the intermediate intervals 
when he has bound all these together, and is no longer many, 
but has become one entirely temperate and perfectly adjusted 
nature, then he proceeds to act, if he has to act, whether in a 
matter of property, or in the treatment of the body, or in 
some affair of politics or private business ; always thinking 
and calling that which preserves and co-operates with this 
harmonious condition, just and good action, and the know- 
ledge which presides over it, wisdom, and that which at any 
444 time impairs this condition, he will call unjust action, and the 
opinion which presides over it ignorance. 

You have said the exact truth, Socrates. 

Very good ; and if we were to affirm that we had dis- 
covered the just man and the just State, and the nature of 
justice in each of them, we should not be telling a falsehood ? 

Most certainly not. 

May we say so, then ? 

Let us say so. 

And now, I said, injustice has to be considered. 


Must not injustice be a strife which arises among the three injustice 
principles a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up 
of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlaw- tice. 
ful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against 
a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal, what is all 
this confusion and delusion but injustice, and intemperance 
and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice ? 

Exactly so. 

And if the nature of justice and injustice be known, then 
the meaning of acting unjustly and being unjust, or, again, of 
acting justly, will also be perfectly clear? 

What do you mean ? he said. 

Why, I said, they are like disease and health ; being in the 
soul just what disease and health are in the body. 




Analogy of 
body and 
Health : 
disease : : 
justice : 

The old 
the just or 
the unjust is 
the happier, 
has become 

Justice a natural self-government. 

How so ? he said. 

Why, I said, that which is healthy causes health, and that 
which is unhealthy causes disease. 


And just actions cause justice, and unjust actions cause 
injustice ? 

That is certain. 

And the creation of health is the institution of a natural 
order and government of one by another in the parts of the 
body ; and the creation of disease is the production of a state 
of things at variance with this natural order ? 


And is not the creation of justice the institution of a 
natural order and government of one by another in the parts 
of the soul, and the creation of injustice the production of a 
state of things at variance with the natural order ? 

Exactly so, he said. 

Then virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the 
soul, and vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the 


And do not good practices lead to virtue, and evil practices 
to vice ? 


Still our old question of the comparative advantage of 445 
justice and injustice has not been answered : Which is the 
more profitable, to be just and act justly and practise virtue, 
whether seen or unseen of gods and men, or to be unjust and 
act unjustly, if only unpunished and unreformed ? 

In my judgment, Socrates, the question has now become 
ridiculous. We know that, when the bodily constitution is 
gone, life is no longer endurable, though pampered with all 
kinds of meats and drinks, and having all wealth and all 
power; and shall we be told that when the very essence 
of the vital principle is undermined and corrupted, life is 
still worth having to a man, if only he be allowed to do what- 
ever he likes with the single exception that he is not to 
acquire justice and virtue, or to escape from injustice and 
vice ; assuming them both to be such as we have described ? 

Yes, I said, the question is, as you say, ridiculous. Still, 

One form of virtue^ four of vice. 139 

as we are near the spot at which we may see the truth in the Republic 
clearest manner with our own eyes, let us not faint by the IV ' 



Certainly not, he replied. 

Come up hither, I said, and behold the various forms of 
vice, those of them, I mean, which are worth looking at. 

I am following you, he replied : proceed. 

I said, The argument seems to have reached a height 
from which, as from some tower of speculation, a man may 
look down and see that virtue is one, but that the forms of 
vice are innumerable; there being four special ones which 
are deserving of note. 

What do you mean ? he said. 

I mean, I replied, that there appear to be as many forms of As any 
the soul as there are distinct forms of the State. thesoui 

H ow many ? as of the 

There are five of the State, and five of the soul, I said. 

What are they ? 

The first, I said, is that which we have been describing, 
and which may be said to have two names, monarchy and 
aristocracy, accordingly as rule is exercised by one distin- 
guished man or by many. 

True, he replied. 

But I regard the two names as describing one form only ; 
for whether the government is in the hands of one or many, 
if the governors have been trained in the manner which we 
have supposed, the fundamental laws of the State will be 

That is true, he replied. 




The com- 
munity of 
women and 

The saying 
' Friends 
have all 
things in 
common ' 
is an in- 
solution of 
the pro- 

SUCH is the good and true City or State, and the good and steph. 
true man is of the same pattern ; and if this is right every ^49 
other is wrong ; and the evil is one which affects not only 
the ordering of the State, but also the regulation of the 
individual soul, and is exhibited in four forms. 

What are they ? he said. 

I was proceeding to tell the order in which the four evil * | 
forms appeared to me to succeed one another, when Pole- 
marchus, who was sitting a little way off, just beyond 
Adeimantus, began to whisper to him : stretching forth his 
hand, he took hold of the upper part of his coat by the 
shoulder, and drew him towards him, leaning forward himself 
so as to be quite close and saying something in his ear, of 
which I only caught the words, ' Shall we let him off, or 
what shall we do ? ' 

Certainly not, said Adeimantus, raising his voice. 

Who is it, I said, whom you are refusing to let off? 

You, he said. 

I repeated \ Why am I especially not to be let off? 

Why, he said, we think that you are lazy, and mean to 
cheat us out of a whole chapter which is a very important 
part of the story ; and you fancy that we shall not notice 
your airy way of proceeding ; as if it were self-evident to 
everybody, that in the matter of women and children ' friends 
have all things in common.' 

And was I not right, Adeimantus ? 

Yes, he said ; but what is right in this particular case, 
like everything else, requires to be explained ; for com- 
munity may be of many kinds. Please, therefore, to say 
what sort of community you mean. We have been long 

1 Reading en iy<a tiirov. 

The difficidty of the subject. 141 

expecting that you would tell us something about the family Republic 
life of your citizens how they will bring children into the ^' 

world, and rear them when they have arrived, and, in SOCRATES, 


general, what is the nature of this community 01 women and 

children for we are of opinion that the right or wrong 
management of such matters will have a great and paramount 
influence on the State for good or for evil. And now, since 
the question is still undetermined, and you are taking in 
hand another State, we have resolved, as you heard, not 
450 to let you go until you give an account of all this. 

To that resolution, said Glaucon, you may regard me as 
saying Agreed. 

And without more ado, said Thrasymachus, you may con- 
sider us all to be equally agreed. 

I said, You know not what you are doing in thus assailing 
me : What an argument are you raising about the State ! 
Just as I thought that I had finished, and was only too glad The 
that I had laid this question to sleep, and was reflecting how 
fortunate I was in your acceptance of what I then said, you Socrates. 
ask me to begin again at the very foundation, ignorant of 
what a hornet's nest of words you are stirring. Now I 
foresaw this gathering trouble, and avoided it. 

For what purpose do you conceive that we have come Thegood- 
here, said Thrasymachus, to look for gold, or to hear dis- 
course ? chus. 

Yes, but discourse should have a limit. 

Yes, Socrates, said Glaucon, and the whole of life is the 
only limit which wise men assign to the hearing of such 
discourses. But never mind about us ; take heart yourself 
and answer the question in your own way: What sort of 
community of women and children is this which is to prevail 
among our guardians ? and how shall we manage the period 
between birth and education, which seems to require the 
greatest care ? Tell us how these things will be. 

Yes, my simple friend, but the answer is the reverse of 
easy; many more doubts arise about this than about our 
previous conclusions. For the practicability of what is said 
may be doubted ; and looked at in another point of view, 
whether the scheme, if ever so practicable, would be for the 
best, is also doubtful. Hence I feel a reluctance to approach 

142 He that kills the truth is a murderer. 

Republic the subject, lest our aspiration, my dear friend, should turn 
v ' out to be a dream only. 

Fear not, he replied, for your audience will not be hard 
upon you ; they are not sceptical or hostile. 

I said : My good friend, I suppose that you mean to 
encourage me by these words. 

Yes, he said. 

A friendly Then let me tell you that you are doing just the reverse ; 
fs^ore 6 tne en couragement which you offer would have been all very 
dangerous weU had I myself believed that I knew what I was talking 

tile one h S ~ about : to declare the truth about matters of high interest 
which a man honours and loves among wise men who love 
him need occasion no fear or faltering in his mind ; but to 
carry on an argument when you are yourself only a hesitating 
enquirer, which is my condition, is a dangerous and slippery 451 
thing; and the danger is not that I shall be laughed at 
(of which the fear would be childish), but that I shall miss the 
truth where I have most need to be sure of my footing, and 
drag my friends after me in my fall. And I pray Nemesis 
not to visit upon me the words which I am going to utter. 
For I do indeed believe that to be an involuntary homicide is 
a less crime than to be a deceiver about beauty or goodness 
or justice in the matter of laws \ And that is a risk which 
I would rather run among enemies than among friends, and 
therefore you do well to encourage me 2 . 

Glaucon laughed and said : Well then, Socrates, in case 
you and your argument do us any serious injury you shall be 
acquitted beforehand of the homicide, and shall not be held 
to be a deceiver ; take courage then and speak. 

Well, I said, the law says that when a man is acquitted he 
is free from guilt, and what holds at law may hold in argument. 

Then why should you mind 1 

Well, I replied, I suppose that I must retrace my steps and 
say what I perhaps ought to have said before in the proper 
place. The part of the men has been played out, and now pro- 
perly enough comes the turn of the women. Of them I will pro- 
ceed to speak, and the more readily since I am invited by you. 

1 Or inserting ai before vo^uv : ' a deceiver about beauty or goodness or 
principles of justice or law.' 
3 Reading &art e? /* 

'Women are but lesser men! 143 

For men born and educated like our citizens, the only Republic 
way, in my opinion, of arriving at a right conclusion about v - 
the possession and use of women and children is to follow SOCRATE S. 
the path on which we .originally started, when we said 
that the men were to be the guardians and watchdogs of 
the herd. 


Let us further suppose the birth and education of our women 
to be subject to similar or nearly similar regulations; then 
we shall see whether the result accords with our design. 

What do you mean ? 

What I mean may be put into the form of a question, I Nodistinc- 
said : Are dogs divided into hes and shes, or do they both Jj^ 11 ^^ 
share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the such as is 
other duties of dogs ? or do we entrust to the males the entire ade 
and exclusive care of the flocks, while we leave the females at men and 
home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling their women, 
puppies is labour enough for them ? 

No, he said, they share alike ; the only difference between 
them is that the males are stronger and the females 

But can you use different animals for the same purpose, 
unless they are bred and fed in the same way ? 

You cannot. 

Then, if women are to have the same duties as men, they 
452 must have the same nurture and education ? 


The education which was assigned to the men was music 
and gymnastic. 


Then women must be taught music and gymnastic and also Women 
the art of war, which they must practise like the men ? SITht* 

That is the inference, I suppose. music, 

I should rather expect, I said, that several of our proposals, gymnastic, 
if they are carried out, being unusual, may appear ridiculous. tary e ^~, 

No doubt of it. cises 

Yes, and the most ridiculous thing of all will be the sight 
of women naked in the palaestra, exercising with the men, 
especially when they are no longer young; they certainly 
will not be a vision of beauty, any more than the enthusiastic 


The jests of the wits. 



should not 
be per- 
mitted to 
stand in 
the way of 
a higher 

old men who in spite of wrinkles and ugliness continue to 
frequent the gymnasia. 

Yes, indeed, he said : according to present notions the 
proposal would be thought ridiculous. 

But then, I said, as we have determined to speak our 
minds, we must not fear the jests of the wits which will be 
directed against this sort of innovation ; how they will talk of 
women's attainments both in music and gymnastic, and above 
all about their wearing armour and riding upon horseback ! 

Very true, he replied. 

Yet having begun we must go forward to the rough places 
of the law; at the same time begging of these gentlemen for 
once in their life to be serious. Not long ago, as we shall 
remind them, the Hellenes were of the opinion, which is still 
generally received among the barbarians, that the sight of 
a naked man was ridiculous and improper ; and when first 
the Cretans and then the Lacedaemonians introduced the 
custom, the wits of that day might equally have ridiculed the 

No doubt. 

But when experience showed that to. let all things be un- 
covered was far better than to cover them up, and the 
ludicrous effect to the outward eye vanished before the better 
principle which reason asserted, then the man was perceived 
to be a fool who directs the shafts of his ridicule at any other 
sight but that of folly and vice, or seriously inclines to weigh 
the beautiful by any other standard but that of the good ] . 

Very true, he replied. 

First, then, whether the question is to be put in jest or in 
earnest, let us come to an understanding about the nature of 453 
woman : Is she capable of sharing either wholly or partially 
in the actions of men, or not at all ? And is the art of war 
one of those arts in which she can or can not share ? That 
will be the best way of commencing the enquiry, and will 
probably lead to the fairest conclusion. 

That will be much the best way. 

Shall we take the other side first and begin by arguing 
against ourselves; in this manner the adversary's position 
will not be undefended. 

1 Reading with Paris A. KO! KO.KOV . . . 

The seeming contradiction of the argument. 145 

Why not ? he said. Republic 

Then let us put a speech into the mouths of our opponents. 
They will say : ' Socrates and Glaucon. no adversary need SoCRATES 


convict you, for you yourselves, at the first foundation of the Ob - ection - 
State, admitted the principle that everybody was to do the we were 
one work suited to his own nature/ And certainly, if I am saying that 
not mistaken, such an admission was made by us. ' And do should do 
not the natures of men and women differ very much in- his own 
deed ? ' And we shall reply : Of course they do. Then we Have not 
shall be asked, ' Whether the tasks assigned to men and women and 
to women should not be different, and such as are agree- ^ a s ^Jj 
able to their different natures ? ' Certainly they should, of their 
' But if so, have you not fallen into a serious inconsistency in own ? 
saying that men and women, whose natures are so entirely 
different, ought to perform the same actions ? ' What de- 
fence will you make for us, my good Sir, against any one 
who offers these objections ? 

That is not an easy question to answer when asked 
suddenly ; and I shall and I do beg of you to draw out the 
case on our side. 

These are the objections, Glaucon, and there are many 
others of a like kind, which I foresaw long ago ; they made 
me afraid and reluctant to take in hand any law about the 
possession and nurture of women and children. 

By Zeus, he said, the problem to be solved is anything but 

Why yes, I said, but the fact is that when a man is out of 
his depth, whether he has fallen into a little swimming bath 
or into mid ocean, he has to swim all the same. 

Very true. 

And must not we swim and try to reach the shore : we will 
hope that Arion's dolphin or some other miraculous help 
may save us? 

I suppose so, he said. 

Well then, let us see if any way of escape can be found. 
We acknowledged did we not ? that different natures ought 
to have different pursuits, and that men's and women's 
natures are different. And now what are we saying ? that 
different natures ought to have the same pursuits, this is 
the inconsistency which is charged upon us. 


Is there an essential or only an accidental 



The seem- 
ing incon- 
arises out 
of a verbal 

When we 
assigned to 
we meant 
only those 
of nature 
which af- 
fected the 


Verily, Glaucon, I said, glorious is the power of the art of 454 
contradiction ! 

Why do you say so ? 

Because I think that many a man falls into the practice 
against his will. When he thinks that he is reasoning he is 
really disputing, just because he cannot define and divide, 
and so know that of which he is speaking ; and he will pursue 
a merely verbal opposition in the spirit of contention and not 
of fair discussion. 

Yes, he replied, such is very often the case ; but what has 
that to do with us and our argument ? 

A great deal ; for there is certainly a danger of our getting 
unintentionally into a verbal opposition. 

In what way ? 

Why we valiantly and pugnaciously insist upon the verbal 
truth, that different natures ought to have different pursuits, 
but we never considered at all what was the meaning of same- 
ness or difference of nature, or why we distinguished them 
when we assigned different pursuits to different natures and 
the same to the same natures. 

Why, no, he said, that was never considered by us. 

I said : Suppose that by way of illustration we were to ask 
the question whether there is not an opposition in nature be- 
tween bald men and hairy men ; and if this is admitted by us, 
then, if bald men are cobblers, we should forbid the hairy 
men to be cobblers, and conversely? 

That would be a jest, he said. 

Yes, I said, a jest; and why? because we never meant 
when we constructed the State, that the opposition of natures 
should extend to every difference, but only to those differ- 
ences which affected the pursuit in which the individual is 
engaged ; we should have argued, for example, that a physician 
and one who is in mind a physician * may be said to have the 
same nature. 


Whereas the physician and the carpenter have different 
natures ? 


1 Reading larpbv JJLGV /col larpiKbv rty i\iv^v Svra. 

difference between men and women? 147 

And if, I said, the male and female sex appear to differ in Republic 
their fitness for any art or pursuit, we should say that such 

pursuit or art ought to be assigned to one or the other of 
them ; but if the difference consists only in women bearing 
and men begetting children, this does not amount to a proof 
that a woman differs from a man in respect of the sort of 
education she should receive ; and we shall therefore continue 
to maintain that our guardians and their wives ought to have 
the same pursuits. 

Very true, he said. 

Next, we shall ask our opponent how, in reference to any 
455 of the pursuits or arts of civic life, the nature of a woman 
differs from that of a man ? 

That will be quite fair. 

And perhaps he, like yourself, will reply that to give a 
sufficient answer on the instant is not easy ; but after a little 
reflection there is no difficulty. 

Yes, perhaps. 

Suppose then that we invite him to accompany us in the 
argument, and then we may hope to show him that there is 
nothing peculiar in the constitution of women which would 
affect them in the administration of the State. 

By all means. 

Let us say to him : Come now, and we will ask you a The same 
question : when you spoke of a nature gifted or not gifted n * tural 
in any respect, did you mean to say that one man will found in 
acquire a thing easily, another with difficulty; a little both sexes, 
learning will lead the one to discover a great deal; whereas a repos- 
the other, after much study and application, no sooner learns sessed in 
than he forgets ; or again, did you mean, that the one has a de^eeb 
body which is a good servant to his mind, while the body of men than 
the other is a hindrance to him ? would not these be the women - 
sort of differences which distinguish the man gifted by nature 
from the one who is ungifted ? 

No one will deny that. 

And can you mention any pursuit of mankind in which 
the male sex has not all these gifts and qualities in a higher 
degree than the female ? Need I waste time in speaking 
of the art of weaving, and the management of pancakes and 
preserves, in which womankind does really appear to be 

L 2 

148 The same qualities in men and women. 

Republic great, and in which for her to be beaten by a man is of all 

things the most absurd ? 
sockAtEs, You are quite right, he replied, in maintaining the general 

GLAUCON. r i r \ 

inferiority of the female sex : although many women are in 
many things superior to many men, yet on the whole what 
you say is true. 

And if so, my friend, I said, there is no special faculty of 
administration in a state which a woman has because she is 
a woman, or which a man has by virtue of his sex, but the 
gifts of nature are alike diffused in both ; all the pursuits of 
men are the pursuits of women also, but in all of them a 
woman is inferior to a man. 

Very true. 

Men and Then are we to impose all our enactments on men and 
are^^e none of them on women ? 
governed That will never do. 

la^andfo ^ ne woman nas a S& of healing, another not ; one is 456 
have the a musician, and another has no music in her nature ? 
r " Very true. 

And one woman has a turn for gymnastic and military 
exercises, and another is unwarlike and hates gymnastics ? 


And one woman is a philosopher, and another is an enemy 
of philosophy ; one has spirit, and another is without spirit ? 

That is also true. 

Then one woman will have the temper of a guardian, and 
another not. Was not the selection of the male guardians 
determined by differences of this sort ? 


Men and women alike possess the qualities which make 
a guardian ; they differ only in their comparative strength or 


And those women who have such qualities are to be selected 
as the companions and colleagues of men who have similar 
qualities and whom they resemble in capacity and in character ? 

Very true. 

And ought not the same natures to have the same pursuits ? 

They ought. 

Then, as we were saying before, there is nothing unnatural 

Then their education should be the same. 149 

in assigning music and gymnastic to the wives of the guardians Republ 
to that point we come round again. 


Certainly not. 

The law which we then enacted was agreeable to nature, 
and therefore not an impossibility or mere aspiration ; and 
the contrary practice, which prevails at present, is in reality 
a violation of nature. 

That appears to be true. 

We had to consider, first, whether our proposals were 
possible, and secondly whether they were the most beneficial ? 


And the possibility has been acknowledged ? 


The very great benefit has next to be established ? 

Quite so. 

You will admit that the same education which makes a man There are 
a good guardian will make a woman a good guardian ; for Different 

... . . degrees of 

their original nature is the same ? goodness 

Yes koth * n 

T ,'..... . . women and 

I should like to ask you a question. in men 

What is it? 

Would you say that all men are equal in excellence, or is 
one man better than another ? 

The latter. 

And in the commonwealth which we were founding do you 
conceive the guardians who have been brought up on our 
model system to be more perfect men, or the cobblers whose 
education has been cobbling ? 

What a ridiculous question I 

You have answered me, I replied : Well, and may we not 
further say that our guardians are the best of our citizens ? 

By far the best. 

And will not their wives be the best women ? 

Yes, by far the best. 

And can there be anything better for the interests of the 
State than that the men and women of a State should be as 
good as possible ? 

There can be nothing better. 

457 And this is what the arts of music and gymnastic, when pre- 
sent in such manner as we have described, will accomplish ? 



The noble 

The second 
and greater 

The first and second waves. 


Then we have made an enactment not only possible but in 
the highest degree beneficial to the State ? 


Then let the wives of our guardians strip, for their virtue 
will be their robe, and let them share in the toils of war and 
the defence of their country; only in the distribution of 
labours the lighter are to be assigned to the women, who are 
the weaker natures, but in other respects their duties are to 
be the same. And as for the man who laughs at naked 
women exercising their bodies from the best of motives, in 
his laughter he is plucking 

1 A fruit of unripe wisdom/ 

and he himself is ignorant of what he is laughing at, or what 
he is about ; for that is, and ever will be, the best of sayings, 
That the useful is the noble and the hurtful is the base. 

Very true. 

Here, then, is one difficulty in our law about women, which 
we may say that we have now escaped; the wave has not 
swallowed us up alive for enacting that the guardians of 
either sex should have all their pursuits in common ; to the 
utility and also to the possibility of this arrangement the 
consistency of the argument with itself bears witness. 

Yes, that was a mighty wave which you have escaped. 

Yes, I said, but a greater is coming ; you will not think 
much of this when you see the next. 

Go on ; let me see. 

The law, I said, which is the sequel of this and of all that 
has preceded, is to the following effect, ' that the wives of 
our guardians are to be common, and their children are to be 
common, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any 
child his parent.' 

Yes, he said, that is a much greater wave than the other ; 
and the possibility as well as the utility of such a law are far 
more questionable. 

I do not think, I said, that there can be any dispute about 
the very great utility of having wives and children in common ; 
the possibility is quite another matter, and will be very much 

The day dream. 151 

I think that a good many doubts may be raised about both. Republic 

You imply that the two questions must be combined, I 
replied. Now I meant that you should admit the utility; 
and in this way, as I thought, I should escape from one 
of them, and then there would remain only the possibility. an d 

But that little attempt is detected, and therefore you will bilit y of a 
please to give a defence of both. ^ wives"^ 

Well, I said, I submit to my fate. Yet grant me a little andchii- 
45 8 favour : let me feast my mind with the dream as day dreamers d 
are in the habit of feasting themselves when they are walking 
alone ; for before they have discovered any means of effecting 
their wishes that is a matter which never troubles them 
they would rather not tire themselves by thinking about 
possibilities ; but assuming that what they desire is already 
granted to them, they proceed with their plan, and delight in 
detailing what they mean to do when their wish has come 
true that is a way which they have of not doing much good 
to a capacity which was never good for much. Now I The utility 
myself am beginning to lose heart, and I should like, with l ? be con " 

. . i . - . sidered 

your permission, to pass over the question of possibility at first, the 
present. Assuming therefore the possibility of the proposal, p ssibilit y 

T i 11 .11 afterwards. 

I shall now proceed to enquire how the rulers will carry out 
these arrangements, and I shall demonstrate that our plan, if 
executed, will be of the greatest benefit to the State and to the 
guardians. First of all, then, if you have no objection, I will 
endeavour with your help to consider the advantages of the 
measure ; and hereafter the question of possibility. 

I have no objection ; proceed. 

First, I think that if our rulers and their auxiliaries are to 
be worthy of the name which they bear, there must be 
willingness to obey in the one and the power of command in 
the other ; the guardians must themselves obey the laws, and 
they must also imitate the spirit of them in any details which 
are entrusted to their care. 

That is right, he said. 

You, I said, who are their legislator, having selected the The legis- 
men, will now select the women and give them to them; they lator wil1 
must be as far as possible of like natures with them ; and guardians 
they must live in common houses and meet at common meals. male and 
None of them will have anything specially his or her own ; 




meet at 
meals and 
and will be 
drawn to 
one an- 
other by 
an irresist- 
ible neces- 

The breed- 
ing of 
beings, as 
of animals, 
to be from 
the best 
and from 
those who 
are of a 
ripe age. 

The breeding of animals. 

they will be together, and will be brought up together, and 
will associate at gymnastic exercises. And so they will 
be drawn by a necessity of their natures to have intercourse 
with each other necessity is not too strong a word, I think ? 

Yes, he said ; necessity, not geometrical, but another sort 
of necessity which lovers know, and which is far more con- 
vincing and constraining to the mass of mankind. 

True, I said; and this, Glaucon, like all the rest, must 
proceed after an orderly fashion ; in a city of the blessed, 
licentiousness is an unholy thing which the rulers will forbid. 

Yes, he said, and it ought not to be permitted. 

Then clearly the next thing will be to make matrimony 
sacred in the highest degree, and what is most beneficial will 
be deemed sacred ? 

Exactly. 459 

And how can marriages be made most beneficial ? that is 
a question which I put to you, because I see in your house 
dogs for hunting, and of the nobler sort of birds not a few. 
Now, I beseech you, do tell me, have you ever attended 
to their pairing and breeding ? 

In what particulars ? 

Why, in the first place, although they are all of a good 
sort, are not some better than others ? 


And do you breed from them all indifferently, or do you 
take care to breed from the best only ? 

From the best. 

And do you take the oldest or the youngest, or only those 
of ripe age ? 

I choose only those of ripe age. 

And if care was not taken in the breeding, your dogs and 
birds would greatly deteriorate ? 


And the same of horses and of animals in general ? 


Good heavens ! my dear friend, I said, what consummate 
skill will our rulers need if the same principle holds of the 
human species ! 

Certainly, the same principle holds; but why does this 
involve any particular skill ? 

Hymeneal festivals. 153 

Because, I said, our rulers will often have to practise 
upon the body corporate with medicines. Now you know 

that when patients do not require medicines, but have only 
to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of practitioner 1 1}eg 
is deemed to be good enough ; but when medicine has to be ver y 
given, then the doctor should be more of a man. honest 

That is quite true, he said ; but to what are you alluding ? 

I mean, I replied, that our rulers will find a considerable 
dose of falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their 
subjects : we were saying that the use of all these things 
regarded as medicines might be of advantage. 

And we were very right. 

And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed 
in the regulations of marriages and births. 

How so ? 

Why, I said, the principle has been already laid down that Arrange- 
the best of either sex should be united with the best as often, J^** 01 " 
and the inferior with the inferior, as seldom as possible ; and provement 
that they should rear the offspring of the one sort of union, P f th f 
but not of the other, if the flock is to be maintained in 
first-rate condition. Now these goings on must be a secret 
which the rulers only know, or there will be a further danger 
of our herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out 
into rebellion. 

Very true. 

Had we not better appoint certain festivals at which we will and for the 
bring together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices will 
460 be offered and suitable hymeneal songs composed by our tion. 
poets : the number of weddings is a matter which must be 
left to the discretion of the rulers, whose aim will be to 
preserve the average of population ? There are many other 
things which they will have to consider, such as the effects -of 
wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as 
far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming 
either too large or too small. 

Certainly, he replied. 

We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which Pairing 
the less worthy may draw on each occasion of our bringing by lot - 
them together, and then they will accuse their own ill-luck 
and not the rulers. 


The marriageable age. 



The brave 
deserve the 

What is to 
be done 
with the 
children ? 

A woman 
to bear 

To be sure, he said. 

And I think that our braver and better youth, besides their 
other honours and rewards, might have greater facilities 
of intercourse with women given them ; their bravery will 
be a reason, and such fathers ought to have as many sons as 


And the proper officers, whether male or female or both, 
for offices are to be held by women as well as by men 


The proper officers will take the offspring of the good 
parents to the pen or fold, and there they will deposit them 
with certain nurses who dwell in a separate quarter ; but the 
offspring of the inferior, or of the better when they chance to 
be deformed, will be put away in some mysterious, unknown 
place, as they should be. 

Yes, he said, that must be done if the breed of the guardians 
is to be kept pure. 

They will provide for their nurture, and will bring the 
mothers to the fold when they are full of milk, taking the 
greatest possible care that no mother recognises her own 
child; and other wet-nurses may be engaged if more are 
required. Care will also be taken that the process of suckling 
shall not be protracted too long ; and the mothers will have 
no getting up at night or other trouble, but will hand over all 
this sort of thing to the nurses and attendants. 

You suppose the wives of our guardians to have a fine easy 
time of it when they are having children. 

Why, said I, and so they ought. Let us, however, proceed 
with our scheme. We were saying that the parents should 
be in the prime of life ? 

Very true. 

And what is the prime of life ? May it not be defined as a 
period of about twenty years in a woman's life, and thirty 
in a man's ? 

Which years do you mean to include ? 

A woman, I said, at twenty years of age may begin to bear 
children to the State, and continue to bear them until forty ; 
a man may begin at five-and-twenty, when he has passed the 

The table of prohibited degrees. 155 

point at which the pulse of life beats quickest, and continue Republic 
to beget children until he be fifty-five. 
461 Certainly, he said, both in men and women those years are SOCRATES, 

. r u 1 11 r- a. 11 i GLAUCON. 

the prime of physical as well as of intellectual vigour. 

F twenty to 

Any one above or below the prescribed ages who takes part f orty . a 
in the public hymeneals shall be said to have done an unholy man to be- 
and unrighteous thing ; the child of which he is the father, if f^f 161 
it steals into life, will have been conceived under auspices twenty-five 
very unlike the sacrifices and prayers, which at each hymeneal to fift y- five - 
priestesses and priests and the whole city will offer, that 
the new generation may be better and more useful than 
their good and useful parents, whereas his child will be 
the offspring of darkness and strange lust. 

Very true, he replied. 

And the same law will apply to any one of those within the 
prescribed age who forms a connection with any woman in 
the prime of life without the sanction of the rulers; for 
we shall say that he is raising up a bastard to the State, 
uncertified and unconsecrated. 

Very true, he replied. 

This applies, however, only to those who are within the After the 
specified age: after that we allow them to range at will, aThas^ 
except that a man may not marry his daughter or his been 
daughter's daughter, or his mother or his mother's mother ; P 3556 ^ 
and women, on the other hand, are prohibited from marrying licence is 
their sons or fathers, or son's son or father's father, and so allowed : 

..... A . it i . .but all who 

on in either direction. And we grant all this, accompanying were 5o rn 
the permission with strict orders to prevent any embryo aftercertain 
which may come into being from seeing the light; and if f^^^ 
any force a way to the birth, the parents must understand which their 
that the offspring of such an union cannot be maintained, and jj^f^ 
arrange accordingly. parents 

That also, he said, is a reasonable proposition. But how came to ~ 
will they know who are fathers and daughters, and so on ? be kept 

They will never know. The way will be this: dating separate. 
from the day of the hymeneal, the bridegroom who was then 
married will call all the male children who are born in the 
seventh and the tenth month afterwards his sons, and the 
female children his daughters, and they will call him father, 
and he will call their children his grandchildren, and they 


Meum and tuum! 



The great- 
est good 
of States, 
unity ; the 
evil, dis- 
The one 
the result 
of public, 
the other 
of private 

will call the elder generation grandfathers and grandmothers. 
All who were begotten at the time when their fathers and 
mothers came together will be called their brothers and 
sisters, and these, as I was saying, will be forbidden to inter- 
marry. This, however, is not to be understood as an absolute 
prohibition of the marriage of brothers and sisters ; if the lot 
favours them, and they receive the sanction of the Pythian 
oracle, the law will allow them. 

Quite right, he replied. 

Such is the scheme, Glaucon, according to which the 
guardians of our State are to have their wives and families 
in common. And now you would have the argument show 
that this community is consistent with the rest of our polity, 
and also that nothing can be better would you not ? 

Yes, certainly. 462 

Shall we try to find a common basis by asking of ourselves 
what ought to be the chief aim of the legislator in making 
laws and in the organization of a State, what is the greatest 
good, and what is the greatest evil, and then consider whether 
our previous description has the stamp of the good or of 
the evil ? 

By all means. 

Can there be any greater evil ;than discord and distraction 
and plurality where unity ought to reign ? or any greater 
good than the bond of unity ? 

There cannot. 

And there is unity where there is community of pleasures 
and pains where all the citizens are glad or grieved on the 
same occasions of joy and sorrow ? 

No doubt. 

Yes; and where there is no common but only private 
feeling a State is disorganized when you have one half 
of the world triumphing and the other plunged in grief at 
the same events happening to the city or the citizens ? 


Such differences commonly originate in a disagreement 
about the use of the terms 'mine* and 'not mine/ 'his' and 
' not his.' 

Exactly so. 

And is not that the best-ordered State in which the greatest 

Contrast of the ideal and actual State. 157 

number of persons apply the terms ' mine J and ' not mine ' in Republic 
the same way to the same thing ? 

Quite true. SOCRATES, 


Or that again which most nearly approaches to the con- TheState 
dition of the individual as in the body, when but a finger of nke a living 
one of us is hurt, the whole frame, drawn towards the soul as beingwhich 
a centre and forming one kingdom under the ruling power g e ther 
therein, feels the hurt and sympathizes all together with the when hurt 
part affected, and we say that the man has a pain in his 1! 
finger; and the same expression is used about any other 
part of the body, which has a sensation of pain at suffering or 
of pleasure at the alleviation of suffering. 

Very true, he replied ; and I agree with you that in the 
best-ordered State there is the nearest approach to this 
common feeling which you describe. 

Then when any one of the citizens experiences any good 
or evil, the whole State will make his case their own, and 
will either rejoice or sorrow with him ? 

Yes, he said, that is what will happen in a well-ordered 

It will now be time, I said, for us to return to our State Howdif- 
and see whether this or some other form is most in ac- Jf rentare 

the terms 

cordance with these fundamental principles. which are 

Very good. 
463 Our State like every other has rulers and subjects ? in other 

True. States and 

All of whom will call one another citizens ? 

Of course. 

But is there not another name which people give to their 
rulers in other States ? 

Generally they call them masters, but in democratic States 
they simply call them rulers. 

And in our State what other name besides that of citizens 
do the people give the rulers ? 

They are called saviours and helpers, he replied. 

And what do the rulers call the people ? 

Their maintainers and foster-fathers. 

And what do they call them in other States ? 


And what do the rulers call one another in other States ? 


The community of property and of 



The State 
one family. 

Using the 

terms, they 
will have 
the same 
modes of 
and acting, 
and this 
is to be 
mainly to 
the com- 
munity of 
women and 


And what in ours ? 


Did you ever know an example in any other State of a 
ruler who would speak of one of his colleagues as his friend 
and of another as not being his friend ? 

Yes, very often. 

And the friend he regards and describes as one in whom 
he has an interest, and the other as a stranger in whom he 
has no interest ? 


But would any of your guardians think or speak of any 
other guardian as a stranger ? 

Certainly he would not ; for every one whom they meet 
will be regarded by them either as a brother or sister, or 
father or mother, or son or daughter, or as the child or 
parent of those who are thus connected with him. 

Capital, I said ; but let me ask you once more : Shall they 
be a family in name only; or shall they in all their actions be 
true to the name ? For example, in the use of the word 
'father/ would the care of a father be implied and the filial 
reverence and duty and obedience to him which the law 
commands ; and is the violator of these duties to be regarded 
as an impious and unrighteous person who is not likely 
to receive much good either at the hands of God or of man ? 
Are these to be or not to be the strains which the children 
will hear repeated in their ears by all the citizens about those 
who are intimated to them to be their parents and the rest of 
their kinsfolk ? 

These, he said, and none other; for what can be more 
ridiculous than for them to utter the names of family ties with 
the lips only and not to act in the spirit of them ? 

Then in our city the language of harmony and concord 
will be more often heard than in any other. As I was 
describing before, when any one is well or ill, the universal 
word will be ' with me it is well ' or 'it is ill.' 

Most true. 464 

And agreeably to this mode of thinking and speaking, 
were we not saying that they will have their pleasures and 
pains in common ? 

women and children tends to harmony and peace. 159 

Yes, and so they will. Republic 

And they will have a common interest in the same thing 
which they will alike call 'my own/ and having this common 
interest they will have a common feeling of pleasure and pain ? 

Yes, far more so than in other States. 

And the reason of this, over and above the general con- 
stitution of the State, will be that the guardians will have 
a community of women and children ? 

That will be the chief reason. 

And this unity of feeling we admitted to be the greatest 
good, as was implied in our own comparison of a well-ordered 
State to the relation of the body and the members, when 
affected by pleasure or pain ? 

That we acknowledged, and very rightly. 

Then the community of wives and children among our 
citizens is clearly the source of the greatest good to the 
State ? 


And this agrees with the other principle which we were 
affirming, that the guardians were not to have houses or 
lands or any other property ; their pay was to be their food, 
which they were to receive from the other citizens, and they 
were to have no private expenses ; for we intended them to 
preserve their true character of guardians. 

Right, he replied. 

Both the community of property and the community of There will 
families, as I am saying, tend to make them more truly J^hSJ!-- 
guardians ; they will not tear the city in pieces by differing ests among 
about 'mine' and 'not mine;' each man dragging any ac- ^^J^ d 
quisition which he has made into a separate house of his no lawsuits 
own, where he has a separate wife and children and private or trials for 
pleasures and pains ; but all will be affected as far as may be 
by the same pleasures and pains because they are all of one elders - 
opinion about what is near and dear to them, and therefore 
they all tend towards a common end. 

Certainly, he replied. 

And as they have nothing but their persons which they can 
call their own, suits and complaints will have no existence 
among them ; they will be delivered from all those quarrels 
of which money or children or relations are the occasion. 

160 No lawsuits, no quarrels, no meannesses. 

Republic Of course they will. 

Neither will trials for assault or insult ever be likely to 

occur among them. For that equals should defend them- 
selves against equals we shall maintain to be honourable 
and right ; we shall make the protection of the person a 465 
matter of necessity. 

That is good, he said. 

Yes ; and there is a further good in the law ; viz. that if a 
man has a quarrel with another he will satisfy his resentment 
then and there, and not proceed to more dangerous lengths. 


To the elder shall be assigned the duty of ruling and 
chastising the younger. 


Nor can there be a doubt that the younger will not strike 
or do any other violence to an elder, unless the magistrates 
command him ; nor will he slight him in any way. For 
there are two guardians, shame and fear, mighty to prevent 
him : shame, which makes men refrain from laying hands on 
those who are to them in the relation of parents ; fear, that 
the injured one will be succoured by the others who are his 
brothers, sons, fathers. 

That is true, he replied. 

Then in every way the laws will help the citizens to keep 
the peace with one another ? 

Yes, there will be no want of peace. 
From how And as the guardians will never quarrel among themselves 

Siis^m^ there w* 11 be no dan g er of the rest of the cit J bein divided 
our citizens either against them or against one another. 
be deliver- None whatever. 

ed [ 

I hardly like even to mention the little meannesses of which 
they will be rid, for they are beneath notice : such, for ex- 
ample, as the flattery of the rich by the poor, and all the 
pains and pangs which men experience in bringing up a 
family, and in finding money to buy necessaries for their 
household, borrowing and then repudiating, getting how they 
can, and giving the money into the hands of women and 
slaves to keep the many evils of so many kinds which 
people suffer in this way are mean enough and obvious 
enough, and not worth speaking of. 

Our citizens more blessed than Olympic victors. 161 

Yes, he said, a man has no need of eyes in order to Republic 
perceive that. 

And from all these evils they will be delivered, and their 
life will be blessed as the life of Olympic victors and yet 
more blessed. 

How so ? 

The Olympic victor, I said, is deemed happy in receiving a 
part only of the blessedness which is secured to our citizens, 
who have won a more glorious victory and have a more 
complete maintenance at the public cost. For the victory 
which they have won is the salvation of the whole State ; 
and the crown with which they and their children are 
crowned is the fulness of all that life needs ; they receive 
rewards from the hands of their country while living, and 
after death have an honourable burial. 

Yes, he said, and glorious rewards they are. 

Do you remember, I said, how in the course of the previous Answer to 
466 discussion J some one who shall be nameless accused us of ^ e A ^ se 
making our guardians unhappy they had nothing and might mantusthat 
have possessed all things to whom we replied that, if an wem a de 

_ r . . our citizens 

occasion offered, we might perhaps hereafter consider this unhappy 
question, but that, as at present advised, we would make our for their 
guardians truly guardians, and that we were fashioning the 
State with a view to the greatest happiness, not of any 
particular class, but of the whole ? 

Yes, I remember. 

And what do you say, now that the life of our protectors is Their life 
made out to be far better and nobler than that of Olympic compared 
victors is the life of shoemakers, or any other artisans, or of with that 
husbandmen, to be compared with it? 

Certainly not. States. 

At the same time I ought here to repeat what I have said He who 
elsewhere, that if any of our guardians shall try to be happy ^ [^ 
in such a manner that he will cease to be a guardian, and is a guardian 
not content with this safe and harmonious life, which, in our 1S nau s ht - 
judgment, is of all lives the best, but infatuated by some 
youthful conceit of happiness which gets up into his head 
shall seek to appropriate the whole state to himself, then he 

1 Pages 419, 420 ff. 


'Half is more than the whole' 



The com- 
mon way 
of life in- 
and duties 
of men and 

The chil- 
dren to 

parents on 
tions ; 

will have to learn how wisely Hesiod spoke, when he said, 
' half is more than the whole.* 

If he were to consult me, I should say to him : Stay where 
you are, when you have the offer of such a life. 

You agree then, I said, that men and women are to have 
a common way of life such as we have described common 
education, common children ; and they are to watch over the 
citizens in common whether abiding in the city or going out 
to war; they are to keep watch together, and to hunt to- 
gether like dogs ; and always and in all things, as far as they 
are able, women are to share with the men? And in so 
doing they will do what is best, and will not violate, but 
preserve the natural relation of the sexes. 

I agree with you, he replied. 

The enquiry, I said, has yet to be made, whether such a 
community will be found possible as among other animals, 
so also among men and if possible, in what way possible ? 

You have anticipated the question which I was about to 

There is no difficulty, I said, in seeing how war will be 
carried on by them. 


Why, of course they will go on expeditions together ; and 
will take with them any of their children who are strong 
enough, that, after the manner of the artisan's child, they 
may look on at the work which they will have to do when 
they are grown up ; and besides looking on they will have to 467 
help and be of use in war, and to wait upon their fathers and 
mothers. Did you never observe in the arts how the potters' 
boys look on and help, long before they touch the wheel ? 

Yes, I have. 

And shall potters be more careful in educating their children 
and in giving them the opportunity of seeing and practising 
their duties than our guardians will be ? 

The idea is ridiculous, he said. 

There is also the effect on the parents, with whom, as with 
other animals, the presence of their young ones will be the 
greatest incentive to valour.. 

That is quite true, Socrates ; and yet if they are defeated, 
which may often happen in war, how great the danger is! 

The children must see war. 163 

the children will be lost as well as their parents, and the Republic 
State will never recover. 

True, I said ; but would you never allow them to run any risk ? SOCRATES, 

I am far from saying that. 

Well, but if they are ever to run a risk should they not do 
so on some occasion when, if they escape disaster, they will 
be the better for it? 


Whether the future soldiers do or do not see war in the but care 
days of their youth is a very important matter, for the sake U^J^hat 
of which some risk may fairly be incurred. they do not 

Yes, very important. 

This then must be our first step, to make our children risk. 
spectators of war ; but we must also contrive that they shall 
be secured against danger ; then all will be well. 


Their parents may be supposed not to be blind to the risks 
of war, but to know, as far as human foresight can, wjiat 
expeditions are safe and what dangerous ? 

That may be assumed. 

And they will take them on the safe expeditions and be 
cautious about the dangerous ones ? 


And they will place them under the command of experi- 
enced veterans who will be their leaders and teachers ? 

Very properly. 

Still, the dangers of war cannot be always foreseen ; there 
is a good deal of chance about them ? 


Then against such chances the children must be at once 
furnished with wings, in order that in the hour of need they 
may fly away and escape. 

What do you mean ? he said. 

I mean that we must mount them on horses in their earliest 
youth, and when they have learnt to ride, take them on horse- 
back to see war : the horses must not be spirited and warlike, 
but the most tractable and yet the swiftest that can be had. 
In this way they will get an excellent view of what is here- 
468 after to be their own business ; and if there is danger they 
have only to follow their elder leaders and escape. 

M 2 

1 64 

The rewards and distinctions of heroes. 



The coward 
is to be de- 
graded into 
a lower 

The hero 
to receive 
from his 
and favour 
from his 

and to have 
and a larger 
share of 
meats and 
drinks ; 

I believe that you are right, he said. 

Next, as to war; what are to be the relations of your 
soldiers to one another and to their enemies? I should 
be inclined to propose that the soldier who leaves his rank or 
throws away his arms, or is guilty of any other act of 
cowardice, should be degraded into the rank of a husbandman 
or artisan. What do you think ? 

By all means, I should say. 

And he who allows himself to be taken prisoner may as 
well be made a present of to his enemies ; he is their lawful 
prey, and let them do what they like with him. 


But the hero who has distinguished himself, what shall be 
done to him? In the first place, he shall receive honour 
in the army from his youthful comrades ; every one of them 
in succession shall crown him. What do you say ? 

I approve. 

And what do you say to his receiving the right hand of 
fellowship ? 

To that too, I agree. 

But you will hardly agree to my next proposal. 

What is your proposal ? 

That he should kiss and be kissed by them. 

Most certainly, and I should be disposed to go further, and 
say: Let no one whom he has a mind to kiss refuse to be 
kissed by him while the expedition lasts. So that if there be 
a lover in the army, whether his love be youth or maiden, he 
may be more eager to win the prize of valour. 

Capital, I said. That the brave man is to have more 
wives than others has been already determined : and he is to 
have first choices in such matters more than others, in order 
that he may have as many children as possible ? 


Again, there is another manner in which, according to 
Homer, brave youths should be honoured ; for he tells how 
Ajax 1 , after he had distinguished himself in battle, was 
rewarded with long chines, which seems to be a compliment 
appropriate to a hero in the flower of his age, being not only 
a tribute of honour but also a very strengthening thing. 
1 Iliad, vii. 321. 

'None but the brave deserve the fair! 165 

Most true, he said. Republic 

Then in this, I said, Homer shall be our teacher; and we v ' 
too, at sacrifices and on the like occasions, will honour the 
brave according to the measure of their valour, whether men 
or women, with hymns and those other distinctions which we 
were mentioning ; also with 

' seats of precedence, and meats and full cups J ; ' 

and in honouring them, we shall be at the same time training 

That, he replied, is excellent. 

Yes, I said ; and when a man dies gloriously in war shall 
we not say, in the first place, that he is of the golden race ? 

To be sure. 

Nay, have we not the authority of Hesiod for affirming that also to be 
when they are dead -f^ 

469 ' They are holy angels upon the earth, authors of good, averters 
of evil, the guardians of speech-gifted men ' ? a 

Yes ; and we accept his authority. 

We must learn of the god how we are to order the sepulture 
of divine and heroic personages, and what is to be their 
special distinction ; and we must do as he bids ? 

By all means. 

And in ages to come we will reverence them and kneel 
before their sepulchres as at the graves of heroes. And 
not only they but any who are deemed pre-eminently good, 
whether they die from age, or in any other way, shall be 
admitted to the same honours. 

That is very right, he said. 

Next, how shall our soldiers treat their enemies? What Behaviour 
about this? 

In what respect do you mean ? 

First of all, in regard to slavery ? Do you think it right 
that Hellenes should enslave Hellenic States, or allow others 
to enslave them, if they can help ? Should not their custom 
be to spare them, considering the danger which there is that 
the whole race may one day fall under the yoke of the 
barbarians ? 

To spare them is infinitely better. 

1 Iliad, viii. 162. 3 Probably Works and Days, 121 foil. 

1 66 How shall our soldiers treat their enemies ? 

Republic Then no Hellene should be owned by them as a slave; 

that is a rule which they will observe and advise the other 

Hellenes to observe. 

N H 11 Certainly, he said ; they will in this way be united 

shall be against the barbarians and will keep their hands off one 

made a another. 

Next as to the slain; ought the conquerors, I said, to 
take anything but their armour? Does not the practice of 
despoiling an enemy afford an excuse for not facing the 
battle ? Cowards skulk about the dead, pretending that they 
are fulfilling a duty, and many an army before now has been 
lost from this love of plunder. 

Very true. 

Those who And is there not illiberality and avarice in robbing a 
fall in battle cor p se an( j a j so a degree of meanness and womanishness in 

are not to 

be de- making an enemy of the dead body when the real enemy has 
spoiled. flown away and left only his fighting 'gear behind him, is 
not this rather like a dog who cannot get at his assailant, 
quarrelling with the stones which strike him instead ? 
Very like a dog, he said. 

Then we must abstain from spoiling the dead or hindering 
their burial ? 

Yes, he replied, we most certainly must. 

The arms Neither shall we offer up arms at the temples of the gods, 
are not to 65 ^ east ^ a ^ tne arms of Hellenes, if we care to maintain good 470 
be offered feeling with other Hellenes; and, indeed, we have reason 
at temp es , ^ Q ^^ ^^ ^^ offering of spoils taken from kinsmen may be 
a pollution unless commanded by the god himself? 
Very true. 

Again, as to the devastation of Hellenic territory or the 
burning of houses, what is to be the practice ? 

May I have the pleasure, he said, of hearing your opinion ? 
Both should be forbidden, in my judgment ; I would take 
the annual produce and no more. Shall I tell you why ? 

Pray do. 
nor Hei- Why, you see, there is a difference in the names ' discord ' 

lemctem- an( j < war anc j j i ma gi ne that there is also a difference in 
tory devas- 
tated, their natures; the one is expressive of what is internal 

and domestic, the other of what is external and foreign ; and 
the first of the two is termed discord, and only the second, war. 

Wars of Hellenes with Hellenes and barbarians. 167 

That is a very proper distinction, he replied. Republic 

And may I not observe with equal propriety that the 
Hellenic race is all united together by ties of blood and 
friendship, and alien and strange to the barbarians ? 

Very good, he said. 

And therefore when Hellenes fight with barbarians and 
barbarians with Hellenes, they will be described by us as 
being at war when they fight, and by nature enemies, and this 
kind of antagonism should be called war; but when Hellenes Hellenic 
fight with one another we shall say that Hellas is then in ontyTkin 
a state of disorder and discord, they being by nature friends ; of discord 
and such enmity is to be called discord. ^^ to 

I agree. be lasting. 

Consider then, I said, when that which we have acknow- 
ledged to be discord occurs, and a city is divided, if both 
parties destroy the lands and burn the houses of one another, 
how wicked does the strife appear! No true lover of his 
country would bring himself to tear in pieces his own nurse 
and mother: There might be reason in the conqueror 
depriving the conquered of their harvest, but still they would 
have the idea of peace in their hearts and would not mean to 
go on fighting for ever. 

Yes, he said, that is a better temper than the other. 

And will not the city, which you are founding, be an 
Hellenic city? 

It ought to be, he replied. 

Then will not the citizens be good and civilized ? 

Yes, very civilized. 

And will they not be lovers of Hellas, and think of Hellas The lover 
as their own land, and share in the common temples ? city wiiT" 

Most certainly. also be a 

And any difference which arises among them will be 
471 regarded by them as discord only a quarrel among friends, 
which is not to be called a war ? 

Certainly not. 

Then they will quarrel as those who intend some day to be 
reconciled ? 


They will use friendly correction, but will not enslave or 
destroy their opponents; they will be correctors, not enemies? 

1 68 When will Socrates come to the point f 

Republic Just SO. 

And as they are Hellenes themselves they will not de- 

GLAUCON' vastate Hellas, nor will they burn houses, nor ever suppose 

Heiiem tnat tne wnole population of a city men, women, and chil- 

shouid deal dren are equally their enemies, for they know that the guilt 

mildly with o f war j s a l wavs confined to a few persons and that the many 

and with' are their friends. And for all these reasons they will be 

barbarians unwilling to waste their lands and rase their houses ; their 

nowdea" 6 enmity to them will only last until the many innocent 

with one sufferers have compelled the guilty few to give satisfac- 

another. .. o 

tion t 

I agree, he said, that our citizens should thus deal with 
their Hellenic enemies; and with barbarians as the Hellenes 
now deal with one another. 

Then let us enact this law also for our guardians : that 
they are neither to devastate the lands of Hellenes nor to 
burn their houses. 

Agreed ; and we may agree also in thinking that these, 
like all our previous enactments, are very good. 

The com- But still I must say, Socrates, that if you are allowed to 
Giaucon & on * n tn * s wav vou w ^ entirely forget the other question 
respect- which at the commencement of this discussion you thrust 

Station aside : ~* s sucn an orc * er f things possible, and how, if at 
of Socrates, all? For I am quite ready to acknowledge that the plan 
which you propose, if only feasible, would do all sorts of 
good to the State. I will add, what you have omitted, that 
your citizens will be the bravest of warriors, and will never 
leave their ranks, for they will all know one another, and 
each will call the other father, brother, son ; and if you sup- 
pose the women to join their armies, whether in the same 
rank or in the rear, either as a terror to the enemy, or as 
auxiliaries in case of need, I know that they will then be 
absolutely invincible ; and there are many domestic ad- 
vantages which might also be mentioned and which I also 
fully acknowledge : but, as I admit all these advantages and 
as many more as you please, if only this State of yours were 
to come into existence, we need say no more about them ; 
assuming then the existence of the State, let us now turn to 
the question of possibility and ways and means the rest 
may be left. 

The third and greatest wave. 169 

472 If I loiter 1 for a moment, you instantly make a raid upon Republic 
me, I said, and have no mercy ; I have hardly escaped the V ' 

first and second waves, and you seem not to be aware that 

you are now bringing upon me the third, which is the Socrates 

greatest and heaviest. When you have seen and heard the excuses 

third wave, I think you will be more considerate and will himselfand 

m , makes one 

acknowledge that some fear and hesitation was natural re- O r two re- 

specting a proposal so extraordinary as that which I have marks pre- 

now to state and investigate. to a fi n ai 

The more appeals of this sort which you make, he said, the effort. 
more determined are we that you shall tell us how such a 
State is possible : speak out and at once. 

Let me begin by reminding you that we found our way 
hither in the search after justice and injustice. 

True, he replied ; but what of that ? 

I was only going to ask whether, if we have discovered 
them, we are to require that the just man should in nothing 
fail of absolute justice ; or may we be satisfied with an ap- 
proximation, and the attainment in him of a higher degree of 
justice than is to be found in other men ? 

The approximation will be enough. 

We were enquiring into the nature of absolute justice and 
into the character of the perfectly just, and into injustice and 
the perfectly unjust, that we might have an ideal. We were 
to look at these in order that we might judge of our own (*) The 
happiness and unhappiness according to the standard which st ^n d ^.d 
they exhibited and the degree in which we resembled only which 
them, but not with any view of showing that they could te'perfectiy 

exist in fact. realized ; 

True, he said. 

Would a painter be any the worse because, after having 
delineated with consummate art an ideal of a perfectly beau- 
tiful man, he was unable to show that any such man could 
ever have existed ? 

He would be none the worse. 

Well, and were we not creating an ideal of a perfect State? 

To be sure. 

And is our theory a worse theory because we are unable to 

1 Reading ffrpayyfvofjiv<f. 




(2) but is 
none the 
worse for 

the ideal 
cannot be 
one or two 
or rather 
a single 
might revo- 
lutionize a 

goes forth 
to meet the 

The actual falls short of the ideal. 

prove the possibility of a city being ordered in the manner 
described ? 

Surely not, he replied. 

That is the truth, I said. But if, at your request, I am to 
try and show how and under what conditions the possibility is 
highest, I must ask you, having this in view, to repeat your 
former admissions. 

What admissions ? 

I want to know whether ideals are ever fully realized in 473 
language ? Does not the word express more than the fact, 
and must not the actual, whatever a man may think, always, 
in the nature of things, fall short of the truth ? What do 
you say ? 

I agree. 

Then you must not insist on my proving that the actual 
State will in every respect coincide with the ideal : if we are 
only able to discover how a city may be governed nearly as 
we proposed, you will admit that we have discovered the 
possibility which you demand ; and will be contented. I am 
sure that I should be contented will not you ? 

Yes, I will. 

Let me next endeavour to show what is that fault in States 
which is the cause of their present maladministration, and 
what is the least change which will enable a State to pass 
into the truer form ; and let the change, if possible, be of one 
thing only, or, if not, of two ; at any rate, let the changes be 
as few and slight as possible. 

Certainly, he replied. 

I think, I said, that there might be a reform of the State if 
only one change were made, which is not a slight or easy 
though still a possible one. 

What is it ? he said. 

Now then, I said, I go to meet that which I liken to the 
greatest of the waves; yet shall the word be spoken, even 
though the wave break and drown me in laughter and dis- 
honour ; and do you mark my words. 


I said : Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and 
princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, 
and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those 

When philosophers are kings. 1 7 1 

commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the Republic 

other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest 

from their evils, no, nor the human race, as I believe, and SocRATES > 


then only will this our State have a possibility of life and , Cities 
behold the light of day. Such was the thought, my dear will never 
Glaucon, which I would fain have uttered if it had not seemed c ^ ase ff om 

ill until 

too extravagant ; for to be convinced that in no other State can they are 
there be happiness private or public is indeed a hard thing. governed 
Socrates, what do you mean ? I would have you consider 

that the word which you have uttered is one at which 
numerous persons, and very respectable persons too, in a What will 
474 figure pulling off their coats all in a moment, and seizing 
any weapon that comes to hand, will run at you might and 
main, before you know where you are, intending to do 
heaven knows what; and if you don't prepare an answer, and 
put yourself in motion, you will be 'pared by their fine wits,* 
and no mistake. 

You got me into the scrape, I said. 

And I was quite right ; however, I will do all I can to get 
you out of it ; but I can only give you good-will and good 
advice, and, perhaps, I may be able to fit answers to your 
questions better than another that is all. And now, having 
such an auxiliary, you must do your best to show the un- 
believers that you are right. 

I ought to try, I said, since you offer me such invaluable 
assistance. And I think that, if there is to be a chance of But who is 
our escaping, we must explain to them whom we mean when a P hi j os - 
we say that philosophers are to rule in the State ; then we 
shall be able to defend ourselves : There will be discovered 
to be some natures who ought to study philosophy and to be 
leaders in the State ; and others who are not born to be philo- 
sophers, and are meant to be followers rather than leaders. 

Then now for a definition, he said. 

Follow me, I said, and I hope that I may in &>me way or 
other be able to give you a satisfactory explanation. 


I dare say that you remember, and therefore I need not Parallel of 
remind you, that a lover, if he is worthy of the name, ought the lover - 
to show his love, not to some one part of that which he loves, 
but to the whole. 


The definition of a philosopher. 



The lover 
of the fair 
loves them 

the lover 
of wines 
all wines ; 

the lover 
of honour 
all honour 

the philo- 
sopher, or 
lover of 
wisdom, all 

I really do not understand, and therefore beg of you to 
assist my memory. ^ 

Another person, I said, might fairly reply as you do ; but a 
man of pleasure like yourself ought to know that all who are 
in the flower of youth do somehow or other raise a pang or 
emotion in a lover's breast, and are thought by him to be 
worthy of his affectionate regards. Is not this a way which 
you have with the fair : one has a snub nose, and you praise 
his charming face ; the hook-nose of another has, you say, a 
royal look ; while he who is neither snub nor hooked has the 
grace of regularity : the dark visage is manly, the fair are 
children of the gods ; and as to the sweet ' honey pale/ as 
they are called, what is the very name but the invention of a 
lover who talks in diminutives, and is not averse to paleness 
if appearing on the cheek of youth ? In a word, there is no 
excuse which you will not make, and nothing which you will 475 
not say, in order not to lose a single flower that blooms in 
the spring-time of youth. 

If you make me an authority in matters of love, for the 
sake of the argument, I assent. 

And what do you say of lovers of wine ? Do you not see 
them doing the same? They are glad of any pretext of 
drinking any wine. 

Very good. 

And the same is true of ambitious men ; if they cannot 
command an army, they are willing to command a file ; and 
if they cannot be honoured by really great and important 
persons, they are glad to be honoured by lesser and meaner 
people, but honour of some kind they must have. 


Once more let me ask : Does he who desires any class of 
goods, desire the whole class or a part only ? 

The whole. 

And may Ve not say of the philosopher that he is a lover, 
not of a part of wisdom only, but of the whole ? 

Yes, of the whole. 

And he who dislikes learning, especially in youth, when he 
has no power of judging what is good and what is not, such 
an one we maintain not to be a philosopher or a lover of 
knowledge, just as he who refuses his food is not hungry, 

The true philosopher and the imitators. 173 

and may be said to have a bad appetite and not a good Republic 

Very true, he said. 

Whereas he who has a taste for every sort of knowledge 
and who is curious to learn and is never satisfied, may be 
justly termed a philosopher ? Am I not right ? 

Glaucon said : If curiosity makes a philosopher, you will Under 
find many a strange being will have a title to the name. All 
the lovers of sights have a delight in learning, and must are not to 
therefore be included. Musical amateurs, too, are a folk be included 
strangely out of place among philosophers, for they are the soundSt or 
last persons in the world who would come to anything like a under the 
philosophical discussion, if they could help, while they run ^^tede 
about at the Dionysiac festivals as if they had let out their musical 
ears to hear every chorus; whether the performance is in 
town or country that makes no difference they are there, like. 
Now are we to maintain that all these and any who have 
similar tastes, as well as the professors of quite minor arts, 
are philosophers ? 

Certainly not, I replied ; they are only an imitation. 

He said : Who then are the true philosophers ? 

Those, I said, who are lovers of the vision of truth. 

That is also good, he said ; but I should like to know what 
you mean ? 

To another, I replied, I might have a difficulty in ex- 
plaining; but I am sure that you will admit a proposition 
which I am about to make. 

What is the proposition ? 

That since beauty is the opposite of ugliness, they are 

476 And inasmuch as they are two, each of them is one ? 

True again. 

And of just and unjust, good and evil, and of every other 
class, the same remark holds : taken singly, each of them is 
one ; but from the various combinations of them with actions 
and things and with one another) they are seen in all sorts of 
lights and appear many ? 

Very true. 

And this is the distinction which I draw between the sight- 

174 Things beautiful and absolute beauty. 

Republic loving, art-loving, practical class and those of whom I am 
speaking, and who are alone worthy of the name of philo- 


How do you distinguish them ? he said. 
The lovers of sounds and sights, I replied, are, as I con- 
ceive, fond of fine tones and colours and forms and all the 
artificial products that are made out of them, but their mind 
is incapable of seeing or loving absolute beauty. 
True, he replied. 

Few are they who are able to attain to the sight of this. 
Very true. 

And he who, having a sense of beautiful things has no 
sense of absolute beauty, or who, if another lead him to a 
knowledge of that beauty is unable to follow of such an one 
I ask, Is he awake or in a dream only? Reflect: is not 
the dreamer, sleeping or waking, one who likens dissimilar 
things, who puts the copy in the place of the real object? 
I should certainly say that such an one was dreaming. 
True know- But take the case of the other, who recognises the existence 
abiht ^t * G ^ a k s l u t e beauty and is able to distinguish the idea from 
distinguish the objects which participate in the idea, neither putting the 
between objects in the place of the idea nor the idea in the place of 
and many, the objects is he a dreamer, or is he awake ? 
between He is wide awake. 

the 'objects ^nd mav we not sav tnat the mind of the one who knows 
which par- has knowledge, and that the mind of the other, who opines 

take of the 1 Vi * O 


But suppose that the latter should quarrel with us and 
dispute our statement, can we administer any soothing 
cordial or advice to him, without revealing to him that 
there is sad disorder in his wits? 

We must certainly offer him some good advice, he replied. 

Come, then, and let us think of something to say to him. 
Shall we begin by assuring him that he is welcome to any 
knowledge which he may have, and that we are rejoiced at his 
having it ? But we should like to ask him a question : Does 
he who has knowledge know something or nothing ? (You 
must answer for him.) 

I answer that he knows something. 

Being, not being, the intermediate. 1 75 

Something that is or is not ? Republic 

Something that is ; for how can that which is not ever be V ' 

known ? SOCRATES, 


477 And are we assured, after looking at the matter from many There . g an 
points of view, that absolute being is or may be absolutely intermedi- 
known, but that the utterly non-existent is utterly unknown ? ate between 

' *_. being and 

Nothing can be more certain. not being> 

Good. But if there be anything which is of such' a nature and a cor - 
as to be and not to be, that will have a place intermediate j^niedi? 
between pure being and the absolute negation of being? ate between 

Yes, between them. J 

And, as knowledge corresponded to being and ignorance ledge. This 
of necessity to not-being, for that intermediate between being ^ e J^ 1 " 
and not-being there has to be discovered a corresponding faculty 
intermediate between ignorance and knowledge, if there termed 

, . ~ opinion. 

be such ? 


Do we admit the existence of opinion ? 


As being the same with knowledge, or another faculty ? 

Another faculty. 

Then opinion and knowledge have to do with different 
kinds of matter corresponding to this difference of faculties ? 


And knowledge is relative to being and knows being. But 
before I proceed further I will make a division. 

What division ? 

I will begin by placing faculties in a class by themselves : 
they are powers in us, and in all other things, by which we 
do as we do. Sight and hearing, for example, I should call 
faculties. Have I clearly explained the class which I mean ? 

Yes, I quite understand. 

Then let me tell you my view about them. I do not see 
them, and therefore the distinctions of figure, colour, and the 
like, which enable me to discern the differences of some 
things, do not apply to them. In speaking of a faculty I 
think only of its sphere and its result ; and that which has 
the same sphere and the same result I call the same faculty, 
but that which has another sphere and another result I 
call different. Would that be your way of speaking ? 

1 76 



differs from 
because the 
one errs 
and the 
other is 

It also dif- 
fers from 
which is 

Knowledge, ignorance, opinion. 


And will you be so very good as to answer one more 
question ? Would you say that knowledge is a faculty, or in 
what class would you place it ? 

Certainly knowledge is a faculty, and the mightiest of all 

And is opinion also a faculty ? 

Certainly, he said ; for opinion is that with which we are 
able to form an opinion. 

And yet you were acknowledging a little while ago that 
knowledge is not the same as opinion ? 

Why, yes, he said : how can any reasonable being ever 478 
identify that which is infallible with that which errs ? 

An excellent answer, proving, I said, that we are quite 
conscious of a distinction between them. 


Then knowledge and opinion having distinct powers have 
also distinct spheres or subject-matters ? 

That is certain. 

Being is the sphere or subject-matter of knowledge, and 
knowledge is to know the nature of being ? 


And opinion is to have an opinion ? 


And do we know what we opine ? or is the subject-matter 
of opinion the same as the subject-matter of knowledge? 

Nay, he replied, that has been already disproven; if 
difference in faculty implies difference in the sphere or 
subject-matter, and if, as we were saying, opinion and know- 
ledge are distinct faculties, then the sphere of knowledge and 
of opinion cannot be the same. 

Then if being is the subject-matter of knowledge, something 
else must be the subject-matter of opinion? 

Yes, something else. 

Well then, is not-being the subject-matter of opinion ? or, 
rather, how can there be an opinion at all about not-being ? 
Reflect : when a man has an opinion, has he not an opinion 
about something ? Can he have an opinion which is an 
opinion about nothing ? 


The interval between being and not-being. 177 

He who has an opinion has an opinion about some one Republic 
thing? v ' 



And not-being is not one thing but, properly speaking, 
nothing ? 


Of not-being, ignorance was assumed to be the necessary 
correlative ; of being, knowledge ? 

True, he said. 

Then opinion is not concerned either with being or with 
not-being ? 

Not with either. 

And can therefore neither be ignorance nor knowledge ? 

That seems to be true. 

But is opinion to be sought without and beyond either of Its place is 
them, in a greater clearness than knowledge, or in a greater not * be 
darkness than ignorance ? , without 

In neither. or be y nd 

Then I suppose that opinion appears to you to be darker O r ignor- gS 
than knowledge, but lighter than ignorance ? ance - but 

Both ; and in no small degree. 

And also to be within and between them ? 


Then you would infer that opinion is intermediate ? 

No question. 

But were we not saying before, that if anything appeared 
to be of a sort which is and is not at the same time, that sort 
of thing would appear also to lie in the interval between pure 
being and absolute not-being; and that the corresponding 
faculty is neither knowledge nor ignorance, but will be found 
in the interval between them ? 


And in that interval there has now been discovered some- 
thing which we call opinion ? 

There has. 

Then what remains to be discovered is the object which 
partakes equally of the nature of being and not-being, and 
cannot rightly be termed either, pure and simple; this 
unknown term, when discovered, we may truly call the 
subject of opinion, and assign each to their proper faculty, 



The pimning riddle. 





tiveness of 
the many. 

the extremes to the faculties of the extremes and the mean to 
the faculty of the mean. 


T ls bem g premised, I would ask the gentleman who is of 479 
opinion that there is no absolute or unchangeable idea of 
Beauty in whose opinion the beautiful is the manifold he, 
I say, your lover of beautiful sights, who cannot bear to be 
J-Q^ fa^t the beautiful is one, and the just is one, or that any- 
thing is one to him I would appeal, saying, Will you be so 
very kind, sir, as to tell us whether, of all these beautiful 
things, there is one which will not be found ugly ; or of the 
just, which will npt be found unjust ; or of the holy, which 
will not also be unholy ? 

No, he replied ; the beautiful will in some point of view be 
found ugly ; and the same is true of the rest. 

And may not the many which are doubles be also halves ? 
doubles, that is, of one thing, and halves of another ? 

Quite true. 

And things great and small, heavy and light, as they are 
termed, will not be denoted by these any more than by the 
opposite names ? 

True; both these and the opposite names will always 
attach to all of them. 

And can any one of those many things which are called by 
particular names be said to be this rather than not to be 

He replied : They are like the punning riddles which are 
asked at feasts or the children's puzzle about the eunuch 
aiming at the bat, with what he hit him, as they say in the 
puzzle, and upon what the bat was sitting. The individual 
objects of which I am speaking are also a riddle, and have a 
double sense : nor can you fix them in your mind, either as 
being or not-being, or both, or neither. 

Then what will you do with them ? I said. Can they have 
a better place than between being and not-being ? For they 
are clearly not in greater darkness or negation than not- 
being, or more full of light and existence than being. 

That is quite true, he said. 

Thus then we seem to have discovered that the many ideas 
which the multitude entertain about the beautiful and about 

The opposition of knowledge and opinion. \ 79 

all other things are tossing about in some region which is Reptiblic 
half-way between pure being and pure not-being ? 

We have. SOCRATES, 


Yes ; and we had before agreed that anything of this kind 
which we might find was to be described as matter of 
opinion, and not as matter of knowledge ; being the inter- 
mediate flux which is caught and detained by the interme- 
diate faculty. 

Quite true. 

Then those who see the many beautiful, and who yet Opinion is 
neither see absolute beauty, nor can follow any guide who j^^riot 
points the way thither; who see the many just, and not ofthe'abso- 
absolute justice, and the like, such persons may be said to 
have opinion but not knowledge ? 

That is certain. 

But those who see the absolute and eternal and immutable 
may be said to know, and not to have opinion only ? 

Neither can that be denied. 

The one love and embrace the subjects of knowledge, the 

other those of opinion ? The latter are the same, as I dare 

480 say you will remember, who listened to sweet sounds and 

gazed upon fair colours, but would not tolerate the existence 

of absolute beauty. 

Yes, I remember. 

Shall we then be guilty of any impropriety in calling them 
lovers of opinion rather than lovers of wisdom, and will they 
be very angry with us for thus describing them ? 

I shall tell them not to be angry ; no man should be angry 
at what is true. 

But those who love the truth in each thing are to be called 
lovers of wisdom and not lovers of opinion. 


N 2 




If we had 
time, we 
might have 
a nearer 
view of the 
true and 
false philo- 

Which of 
them shall 
be our 
guardians ? 

A question 
hardly to 
be asked. 

AND thus, Glaucon, after the argument has gone a weary steph. 
way, the true and the false philosophers have at length ap- 4 4 
peared in view. 

I do not think, he said, that the way could have been 

I suppose not, I said ; and yet I believe that we might 
have had a better view of both of them if the discussion 
could have been confined to this one subject and if there 
were not many other questions awaiting us, which he who 
desires to see in what respect the life of the just differs from 
that of the unjust must consider. 

And what is the next question ? he asked. 

Surely, I said, the one which follows next in order. In- 
asmuch as philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal 
and unchangeable, and those who wander in the region of 
the many and variable are not philosophers, I must ask you 
which of the two classes should be the rulers of our State ? 

And how can we rightly answer that question ? 

Whichever of the two are best able to guard the laws and 
institutions of our State let them be our guardians. 

Very good. 

Neither, I said, can there be any question that the guardian 
who is to keep anything should have eyes rather than no 

There can be no question of that. 

And are not those who are verily and indeed wanting in 
the knowledge of the true being of each thing, and who have 
in their souls no clear pattern, and are unable as with a 
painter's eye to look at the absolute truth and to that original 
to repair, and having perfect vision of the other world to 
order the laws about beauty, goodness, justice in this, if not 

The qualities of the philosophic nature. 181 

already ordered, and to guard and preserve the order of Republic 
them are not such persons, I ask, simply blind ? VI ' 

Truly, he replied, they are much in that condition. SOCRATES, 

And shall they be our guardians when there are others 
who, besides being their equals in experience and falling 
short of them in no particular of virtue, also know the very 
truth of each thing ? 

There can be no reason, he said, for rejecting those who 
485 have this greatest of all great qualities ; they must always 
have the first place unless they fail in some other respect. 

Suppose then, I said, that we determine how far they can 
unite this and the other excellences. 

By all means. 

In the first place, as we began by observing, the nature of The phiio- 
the philosopher has to be ascertained. We must come to an ^^of 5 a 
understanding about him, and, when we have done so, then, truth and 
if I am not mistaken, we shall also acknowledge that such an u true 
union of qualities is possible, and that those in whom they 
are united, and those only, should be rulers in the State. 

What do you mean ? 

Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love know^ 
ledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not 
varying from generation and corruption. 


And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all 
true being ; there is no part whether greater or less, or more 
or less honourable, which they are willing to renounce ; as 
we said before of the lover and the man of ambition. 


And if they are to be what we were describing, is there 
not another quality which they should also possess ? . 

What quality ? 

Truthfulness : they will never Intentionally receive into 
their mind falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will 
love the truth. 

Yes, that may be safely affirmed of them. 

' May be,' my friend, I replied, is not the word ; say rather, 
'must be affirmed :' for he whose nature is amorous of any- 
thing cannot help loving all that belongs or is akin to the 
object of his affections. 


The spectator of all time and all existence. 



He will be 
absorbed in 
the plea- 
sures of the 
soul, and 
and the re- 
verse of 
or mean. 

In the mag- 
nificence of 
his contem- 
plations he 
will not 
think much 
of human 

Right, he said. 

And is there anything more akin to wisdom than truth ? 

How can there be ? 

Can the same nature be a lover of wisdom and a lover of 
falsehood ? 


The true lover of learning then must from his earliest 
youth, as far as in him lies, desire all truth ? 


But then again, as we know by experience, he whose 
desires are strong in one direction will have them weaker in 
others; they will be like a stream which has been drawn 
off into another channel. 


He whose desires are drawn towards knowledge in every 
form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and 
will hardly feel bodily pleasure I mean, if he be a true 
philosopher and not a sham one. 

That is most certain. 

Such an one is sure to be temperate and the reverse 
of covetous; for the motives which make another man 
desirous of having and spending, have no place in his 

Very true. 

Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be 486 

What is that ? 

There should be no secret corner of illiberality ; nothing 
can be more' antagonistic than meanness to a soul which 
is ever longing after the whole of things both divine and 

Most true, he replied. 

Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the 
spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human 

He cannot. 

Or can such an one account death fearful ? 

No indeed. 

Then the cowardly and mean nature has no part in true 
philosophy ? 

In idea the philosopher is perfect. 183 

Certainly not. Republic 

Or again : can he who is harmoniously constituted, who is VI ' 
not covetous or mean, or a boaster, or a coward can he, SOCRATES, 


I say, ever be unjust or hard in his dealings ? 


Then you will soon observe whether a man is just and He will be 

gentle, or rude and unsociable; these are the signs which ^J^e 116 ' 

distinguish even in youth the philosophical nature from harmoni- 

theunphilosophical. '%T 

True. learning, 

There is another point which should be remarked. having a 

_ . good me- 

What point ? mor y and 

Whether he has or has not a pleasure in learning: for movin g 

MI * * . . spontane- 

no one will love that which gives him pain, and in which ousiyinthe 
after much toil he makes little progress. world of 

Certainly not. 

And again, if he is forgetful and retains nothing of what he 
learns, will he not be an empty vessel ? 

That is certain. 

Labouring in vain, he must end in hating himself and 
his fruitless occupation ? 


Then a soul which forgets cannot be ranked among genuine 
philosophic natures; we must insist that the philosopher 
should have a good memory ? 


And once more, the inharmonious and unseemly nature can 
only tend to disproportion ? 


And do you consider truth to be akin to proportion or 
to disproportion ? 

To proportion. 

Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally 
well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spon- 
taneously towards the true being of everything. 


Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been 
enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, 
necessary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect 
participation of being ? 

184 In fact, says Adeimantus, he is the reverse of perfect. 



sion : 
What a 
study then 
is philoso- 

Nay, says 
tus, you 
can prove 
but your 
hearers are 
vinced all 
the same. 

phers to 
be either 
rogues or 

instead of 
this state- 
ment, ad- 
mits the 
truth of it. 

They are absolutely necessary, he replied. 487 

And must not that be a blameless study which he only can 
pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick 
to learn, noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, 
temperance, who are his kindred ? 

The god of jealousy himself, he said, could find no fault 
with such a study. 

And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and 
education, and to these only you will entrust the State. 

Here Adeimantus interposed and said : To these state- 
ments, Socrates, no one can offer a reply ; but when you talk 
in this way, a strange feeling passes over the minds of your 
hearers: They fancy that they are led astray a little at 
each step in the argument, owing to their own want of skill 
in asking and answering questions ; these littles accumulate, 
and at the end of the discussion they are found to have 
sustained a mighty overthrow and all their former notions 
appear to be turned upside down. And as unskilful players 
of draughts are at last shut up by their more skilful adver- 
saries and have no piece to move, so they too find themselves 
shut up at last; for they have nothing to say in this new 
game of which words are the counters ; and yet all the time 
they are in the right. The observation is suggested to me by 
what is now occurring. For any one of us might say, that 
although in words he is not able to meet you at each step of 
the argument, he sees as a fact that the votaries of philosophy, 
when they carry on the study, not only in youth as a part of 
education, but as the pursuit of their maturer years, most 
of them become strange monsters, not to say utter rogues, and 
that those who may be considered the best of them are made 
useless to the world by the very study which you extol. 

Well, and do you think that those who say so are wrong ? 

I cannot tell, he replied ; but I should like to know what is 
your opinion. 

Hear my answer ; I am of opinion that they are quite right. 

Then how can you be justified in saying that cities will not 
cease from evil until philosophers rule in them, when philoso- 
phers are acknowledged by us to be of no use to them ? 

You ask a question, I said, to which a reply can only 
be given in a parable. 

The parable of the ship. 185 

Yes, Socrates ; and that is a way of speaking to which you Republic 
are not at all accustomed, I suppose. VI ' 

I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having SOCRATES, 

. . . J . J . , & ADEIMANTUS. 

plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear 
488 the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the 
meagreness of my imagination : for the manner in which the 
best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that 
no single thing on earth is comparable to it ; and therefore, if 
I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and 
put together a figure made up of many things, like the 
fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in 
pictures. Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is The noble 
a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but ca P tain 
he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and senses are 
his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The rather dull 
sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering in Sieir^ ' 
every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he better 
has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who mmfnous 16 
taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that crew (the 
it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any If t ^ a n f s \ P 
one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, and the ' 
begging and praying him to commit the helm to them ; and if j^ l ^ 
at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred sopher). 
to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and 
having first chained up the noble captain's senses with drink 
or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of 
the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and 
drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such manner as 
might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan 
and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out 
of the captain's hands into their own whether by force or 
persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, 
able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call 
a good-for-nothing ; but that the true pilot must pay attention 
to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and 
whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really 
qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and 
will be the steerer, whether other people like or not the 
possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has 
never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part 

1 86 Why is philosophy in such evil repute? 

Republic of their calling 1 . Now in vessels which are in a state of 489 

VI ' mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true 
SOCRATES, pji ot ^ e regarded ? Will he not be called by them a prater, a 


star-gazer, a good-for-nothing ? 
Of course, said Adeimantus. 

The inter- Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation 
pretation. Q ^ ^ fig ur e, which describes the true philosopher in his 
relation to the State ; for you understand already. 

Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman 
who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour 
in their cities ; explain it to him and try to convince him that 
their having honour would be far more extraordinary. 

I will. 

The use- Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philo- 
^noso 8 - 01 sophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right ; but 
phers arises also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of 
out of the those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The 
ness of pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by 
mankind to him that is not the order of nature ; neither are ' the wise 
of them. to go to the doors of the rich ' the ingenious author of this 
saying told a lie but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, 
whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and 
he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. 
The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his 
subjects to be ruled by him ; although the present governors 
of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly 
compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to 
those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star- 

Precisely so, he said. 

The real For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, 

pwIotTif the noblest P ur suit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed 
her profess- by those of the opposite faction ; not that the greatest and 
ing follow- mos t lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but 
by her own professing followers, the same of whom you 

1 Or, applying forws 5* Kvfrtpv4i<rei to the mutineers, ' But only understanding 
(t-tratovras) that he (the mutinous pilot) must rule in spite of other people, 
never considering that there is an art of command which may be practised in 
combination with the pilot's art.' 

The noble nat^tre of the philosopher. 187 

suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them Reptiblic 
are arrant rogues, and the best are useless ; in which opinion VI ' 

I agreed. SOCRATES, 



And the reason why the good are useless has now been 
explained ? 


Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the The cor- 
majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to 

the charge of philosophy any more than the other ? . due to 

By all means. many 

And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the 
49 description of the gentle and noble nature. Truth, as you 

will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and 

in all things ; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no 

part or lot in true philosophy. 
Yes, that was said. 
Well, and is not this one quality, to mention no others, 

greatly at variance with present notions of him ? 
Certainly, he said. 
And have we not a right to say in his defence, that the But before 

true lover of knowledge is always striving after being that c nsiderin s 
. ,. J . . & , . ,. . r . thls letus 

is his nature; he will not rest in the multiplicity of in- re-enume- 

dividuals which is an appearance only, but will go on the rate , the 
keen edge will not be blunted, nor the force of his desire 
abate until he have attained the knowledge of the true nature P her: 
of every essence by a sympathetic and kindred power in the 
soul, and by that power drawing near and mingling and 
becoming incorporate with very being, having begotten 
mind and truth, he will have knowledge and will live and 
grow truly, and then, and not till then, will he cease from his 

Nothing, he said, can be more just than such a description 
of him. 

his love of 

And will the love of a lie be any part of a philosopher's essence, 
nature ? Will he not utterly hate a lie ? * f mt ?' 

TT * of justice, 

He Will. besides his 

And when truth is the captain, we cannot suspect any evil other 

r i i t 1-11 i i <Z virtues and 

of the band which he leads ? natural 


1 88 Why do so fern attain to this perfection? 

Republic Justice and health of mind will be of the company, and 
temperance wjll follow after ? 

SOCRATES, True he rep li ec j.